“The cheesecake is brown,” I said to myself. “It’ll be fine.”
This reaction surprised me.
There used to be a time when a brown cheesecake, instead of white, was unacceptable.
In fact, this time last year, I would have tossed the whole thing into the sink and started over.
Crazy behavior… I know, but this used to be me.
I’ve always had a need for perfection.
It didn’t become a real problem until I hit 26 and started addressing all my childhood issues.
Addressing it all was so overwhelming.
Molestation, abuse, and rape – my childhood was far from perfect.
This made my need for perfection and control an obsession.
I remember thinking, “My childhood wasn’t perfect, so my adult life has to be.”
Being perfect meant putting on a strong front and acting as if nothing bothers me, especially my childhood.
I focused on decorating, throwing dinner parties and being the perfect hostess.
I tried to be the perfect wife with homemade scratch dinners and a clean home.
I felt like a pretty home and perfect life would make up for what happened during my childhood and heal my pain.
One day I was hosting a dinner party, and I had set up the most beautiful tablescape per usual.
Not a fork or napkin was out of place.
Everyone kept paying me compliments over the tablescape.
What they saw as beautiful and elaborate was actually a cry for help.
I remember staring at the tablescape with everything perfectly aligned.
At that moment I wanted to flip the whole table over, scream and have a stiff drink.
This was the moment I realized that making everything “perfect” wasn’t working for me.
No matter how pretty and perfect I made things on the outside, I felt so heavy on the inside.
I always felt on the verge of a meltdown.
The need to live the perfect life was so stressful that it changed me.
I became short-tempered and never satisfied.
If a throw pillow was out of place, I had to fix it right away.
If the bath math was in front of the toilet instead of the sink, I had to move it.
I was, in short, crazy.
I felt suffocated by my expectations of perfection.
It finally became apparent that I had to let go of this, or I was bound to have a nervous breakdown.
Once I was able to let go, I felt like I could breathe.
I didn’t have to pretend to be perfect and like I had it all together.
I could admit that I was struggling inside and needed help.
And the first person I had to admit it to was myself.
Being prideful, this was really hard.
But, being honest with myself is what allowed me to get the help I needed.
Without the pressure of perfection, life’s so much lighter.
So, the brown cheesecake may not seem like a big deal to most, but for me it’s huge.
Not chucking it in the sink is a milestone for me. A symbol of progress, lightness, and happiness.
And you know what, the cheesecake was still delicious.
It wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t need to be.
Things don’t have to be perfect to be good.
And does “perfect” really exist?