A few days ago I became disturbingly aware of how much of a perfectionist control-freak I can be. I’ve known this about myself for quite some time, and I’ve been trying to change — honestly I have.
Yet, it is appallingly apparent I haven’t been trying hard enough. In fact, I was so disturbed by a recent string of bossy faultfinding that I decided an intervention was in order.
My first thought was to see if there were any local support groups for people like me. But I didn’t even bother Googling it after I realized you’d never be able to get them all to agree on how the meeting should be run, let alone make any real progress on dismantling their collective psychosis. Plus, I have enough of a problem just being around myself. Adding more people like me to the mix didn’t sound like a wise move.
I was coming to this conclusion while standing in line at Papa Murphy’s waiting for my bake-at-home pizza to be made, when I had an epiphany. It happened as my pizza was being handed off to the person whose job it was to wrap it up.
In the hand off, the pizza accidentally tipped, causing the already imperfectly arranged toppings to become even more imperfectly arranged. The perfectionist inside me became suddenly aghast at the bald spot that was now quite evident on my family-size bacon and tomato.
I didn’t say anything out loud, of course, but I was acutely aware I was planning to fix it as soon as I got home. “After all,” I told myself, “I always rearrange the toppings before I bake these things.”
In that moment, I realized what I had to do. I had to take that pizza home and cook it exactly as it was. If I was serious about changing my nit-picky ways, I had to forbid myself to lay even one little finger on it, bald spot and all.
Armed with this resolve, I drove away, happy my intervention wasn’t going to require a large outlay of cash and a twelve-step program.
When I arrived home, everything went as planned. I preheated the oven, unwrapped my therapeutic pizza, and limited my involvement to initiating the baking sequence. When the timer went off, my daughter peeked in the oven to see if it was done.
“Do you want to check it?” she asked.
Normally, I would have said yes — and she knows that. But, instead, I declined.
“Absolutely not!” I declared. “I trust you.”
A bit surprised, she pulled the pizza out, laid it on the counter, and cut it into slices. Then, she wrapped her arms around me and said, “I’m so proud of you, Mom!”
I was proud of me, too. But, you know what I wish? I wish she would have cut the slices a little less perfectly. That way, I would have gotten even more therapy value for my $10 pizza co-pay. Oh well, maybe that’s the second step.