Joey Ramone Is My Life Coach

The inimitable Joey Ramone

The inimitable Joey Ramone

My name is Fabeku. And I’m a perfectionist.

Well, recovering perfectionist.

At least most days I’m recovering. It’s a process.

I’ve been a perfectionist for as long as I can remember.

I’m pretty sure I picked up this brutal method of self-torture way of doing stuff when I was a little kid.

It all started with a report card. And it went a little something like this.

Me: Hey Mom, I got an A in science! Woohoo!
Mom: You only got an A?
Me: Wha?! What do you mean?
Mom: An A isn’t the same thing as an A+.

Cue the craptastic.


Mantras that suck

An A isn’t the same thing as an A+.

Oy.

This rang me like a bell. And it reverberated in my head like a fugging mantra for over 25 years.

Everything I did had to be A+.

All the time. No matter what. No exceptions.

Failure wasn’t an option. And anything less than perfect was a failure.

Because if what I did wasn’t perfect, I’d not only fail miserably. I’d let everyone down. And they’d be disappointed. Or pissed. Or both.

The letting people down part was way worse than the failing miserably part.

So by the age of seven, I figured out that being perfect wasn’t optional. The rub is that when you’re seven you don’t get that being perfect is impossible.

But anytime I did something – a big something, a small something, it didn’t matter – it had to be absolutely perfect.

It always felt like a matter of life and death.

Of course, I’ve never expected anyone else to be perfect.

I’ve always been the first one to pick someone up when they trip, to dust them off and tell them not to sweat it. So everybody has always had a ton of room to fall down.

Everybody but me.


Pretty close to puking

So every quarter, when report cards were about come out, I wouldn’t sleep for three days.

I’d lie awake in bed, sweating bullets, trying to figure out how to explain why I only got an A- in English or a B+ in history.

I’d almost throw up on myself before making the long walk downstairs to hand my report card to the parental units.

And the whole not-sleeping-for-days-and-sweating-bullets-and-almost-throwing-up-on-myself bit has followed me into adulthood. And by followed I mean chased me like a banshee on crack.

It took me over a year to put this website together.

Not just because it was a huge project. But because I felt like it had to be – wait for it – perfect.

And I freaked out trying to get everything arranged perfectly in my head before I’d even let myself get started. Which meant that it took me nine months to actually dig in and start doing it.


From woohoo to screw it in less than two hours

While I was working on the site, I was also recording my first sacred sound CD. (Because, you know, apparently one huge, demanding project wasn’t enough.)

So I booked some time at a local recording studio, hauled all my gear in and did my thing.

It was a ton of work. And a ton of money.

When it was all finished, I was so stoked to get home and listen to the final mix. I threw the CD in the stereo, totally ready to hear this thing.

The first minute or so… not too bad.

Then I started to notice this thing. And that thing. And how I should have played that bowl louder there. Or played that other bowl softer here.

The final mix was still warm in my hands. But within two hours of getting the CD, I decided to shelve it. To not release it. To scrap it altogether.

So, yeah, I’ve rocked this perfectionist thing pretty hard.

And then one day I had a revelation. An insight. An epiphany even.

And it happened while listening to the Ramones.


The Revelation of St. Joey

So I’m listening to Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment, playing air guitar and making funny punk faces.

Then it hits me.

I love the Ramones.

Lovelovelove them.

I’m crazy about punk in general. I’ve listened to it for 20 years. And I still listen to it every frakking day.

So me loving the Ramones isn’t the ah-ha! moment.

The revelation is that punk is so far from perfect. It’s kind of the antithesis of perfect.

Let’s face it. Joey Ramone wasn’t the world’s best singer.

Sid Vicious could barely play the bass. And most old school punk guitarists were practically a virtuoso if they knew three whole chords.

And punk still kicks a ton of ass.


Talkin’ ‘bout a revolution

Not only does punk kick ass. It started a revolution. And it changed music as we know it.

Punk was visionary. And powerful. And life-changing.

It inspired millions of people. And gave birth to a whole subculture. And sent music spiraling off into a wild new direction.

None of that would have ever happened if the progenitors of punk had waited to be perfect before unleashing their awesome.

If Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny and Tommy kept hiding in the studio polishing their stuff, their music would never have seen the light of day.

But they didn’t do that.

They grabbed their mics and their drumsticks and their three chords, and they blew them up. They snarled their way through two minute tunes, carried more by passion than skill.

That passion started a movement. And changed the world.


Piss off perfectionism

I’ve tripped over the perfectionism thing a lot. Like more times than I can count.

So many times I’ve gotten so close to the finish line, but stopped short because I felt like whatever I was doing wasn’t an A+.

It didn’t matter that it was a solid A. Or that I really, really wanted to share it. Or that a hundred other people thought it rocked.

If it wasn’t perfect, I’d scrap it.

I used to tell myself that this was about quality control. About making sure I wasn’t churning out crap.

But that’s not true.

I mean, obviously I don’t want to churn out crap.

But really I’ve spent my life being scared of letting people down. And terrified of failing in front of an audience.

So not doing something that didn’t seem like a slam dunk was way better than being slammed for doing it.

But I’m over it. Or I’m getting over it.

I’m taking my lead from Joey Ramone. Because he did his thing – his powerful, kick ass, change-the-frakking-world thing.

He didn’t get hung up on perfect. And so he got to be awesome.

Oh, and that CD that I shelved?

You can download it now. For free.

Because I’m telling perfectionism to piss off.

Dig this?

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42 Responses to Joey Ramone Is My Life Coach
  1. Small Elk
    December 9, 2009 | 9:09 am

    Hi Fabeku
    I used to be a perfectionist and was proud of it! LOL The day I finally realized I didn’t have to be…WOW what a weight lifted off my shoulders. It’s amazing what we do to ourselves isn’t it?
    Thankyou for the download. I am enjoying it now.
    Blessings, Small Elk

  2. Katie Schroth
    December 9, 2009 | 10:25 am

    Thank you so much for the steps you have made in telling perfectionism to piss off and being so transparent about it.

    I started making some major inroads into being less of a perfectionist than a couple of years ago when I began knitting. It was an incredible struggle for me, but I had committed to learning, so kept going no matter how embarrassed I was with my efforts – yes, I was embarrassed.

    My poor beleaguered knitting mentor shook her head every day when I brought more problems to her to fix but she was super supportive and one of the people at work commented on how well I was doing (I think she was trying to be kind), but more importantly shared a story about her Mother, who was an expert knitter. (In fact she brought some things in that her Mother had knitted that were amazing.) Her Mom was such a perfectionist that the woman actually hated knitting, because according to her Mom, seeing a good final product wasn’t good enough, the needles had to be held perfectly the whole time she knitted!

    She told a story of a prom dress that she made and hid the entire time she was working on it, knowing the sewing would not meet her Mother’s standards. In the end, she showed her Mom the dress, which was not up to her Mom’s standards, but all these years later, she still has the dress and is proud of her efforts and that she hid things. That story made me stop dead in my tracks.

    At times, I still get a bit hung up about something not being good enough – especially any handcrafted work as it all tends to be a challenge for me, but I too am improving.

    Thanks for your encouraging sharing. I am listening to the download now – grateful for your willingness to share it and your story. It’s all beautiful.

  3. Sulwyn
    December 9, 2009 | 10:29 am

    Thanks for the download! I’m still recovering from severe perfectionism and all of it’s fun baggage… the depression, the hopelessness, the “my life isn’t what other people thought it would be by now so it would probably have been better if I’d never been born” crap. It all sucks. I’m glad you are sharing more of your work!

  4. Joely Black
    December 9, 2009 | 10:30 am

    Well done on beating perfectionism! It’s a nasty thing to have to overcome – and I’ve downloaded the track to add to my collection.
    .-= Joely Black´s last blog ..A 4.4.7: Bubble-wrap therapy =-.

  5. elizabeth
    December 9, 2009 | 10:56 am

    Wow, that’s awesome! I might need to borrow Joey Ramone to help work on my need for perfection. Shiva Nata and yoga are helping me quite a bit.

    I didn’t have the A+ thing, just the A. We were told that it didn’t matter what grades we got, as long as we were doing our best. But if we didn’t get an A, we clearly weren’t doing our best. And that letting people down thing feels horrid – and getting in trouble for not doing your best feels horrid too.
    .-= elizabeth´s last blog ..atlas is home =-.

  6. Moonslark
    December 9, 2009 | 11:10 am

    I am still working on breaking the hold of perfectionism, and working with it with my kids as well (my ex expects them to be perfect at some things and not at others so they are VERY confused now and scared to try anything because they don’t know when daddy will stomp on their efforts)… trying to see past the mess and to the creativity… past what people would see as a failure and see the potential.

    I have a million ideas, but I can’t get them into play becuase the “not good enough” freezes me in my tracks. I started doing a podcast last year, did 3 episodes, then was too afraid to let anyone other than 2 or 3 friends know about it and let it fade. I wanted to start a blog about my struggle to find my Spiritual again, only to find myself frozen on how to start and afraid that anything I say is not going to be good enough to connect with others out there…

    I’m working, slowly, on letting myself make mistakes when I try. I have had to let go of a lot of the internal voices that tell me I can’t do things… and I have (yes) had to hide a lot of things from friends who aren’t supportive of any attempts to explore…

    But its the TRYING that will break me free… at least I think it is…
    .-= Moonslark ´s last blog ..Loneliness-Be-Gone =-.

  7. jamie
    December 9, 2009 | 11:13 am

    YEAH BABY!!!!!!!

    Suddenly I feel like we could go play in the mud or kick up dirt or rip our jeans and yell like a banshee or shave our heads… oh, you’ve done that 😉

    Here’s to you, punkster!!

  8. Sarah Bush
    December 9, 2009 | 11:14 am

    Thank you for a wonderful post.”Pretty Good” was high praise when I was growing up, but Wow, “an A is not an A+” no wonder you almost threw up all the time!
    And thanks for the part about telling yourself it’s quality control–I do that too.
    .-= Sarah Bush´s last blog ..Horseshoes and Hand Grenades =-.

  9. Hayden Tompkins
    December 9, 2009 | 11:25 am

    Yes, yes, YES. This is exactly what I needed today. Cosmic, kismetic kickassery!

    I do this all the time. I do this NOW. I wait and wait and wait because I want it to be perfect. And then I get frustrated and dump all over myself.

    (So I guess if you have Joey Ramone, I have Patti smith. 😉 )
    .-= Hayden Tompkins´s last blog ..The Controversial Way I Saved My Marriage =-.

  10. Emma Newman
    December 9, 2009 | 11:32 am

    Oh! Oh Wow! Oh it’s so… Oh!

    This is one of those posts that I read whilst nodding the whole time, knowing exactly how you feel. My Mum-screws-me-up-forever-moment-about-exam-results moment was when I raced home, announcing with delight that I got 98% in a science exam, only to be met with a stone-filled pause and then “What happened to that 2%? Why didn’t you get 100%?”

    ARGGG! And yes, many many years later I suffer from terrible anxiety and perfectionism. Of course, there were other factors, but that one was way up there. So I wanted to say thank you for writing this. How delicious to read about how you are totally kicking that nonsense in the backside. Rah! Much love xxx

  11. Amy
    December 9, 2009 | 11:34 am

    This is really playing into my need for things to be Right. Not exactly Perfect, but close enough. I think it’s more like I need them to be Most Correct, or whatever.

    It’s where I am right now with my blog/site and my business practice/future in general.

    Gotta learn it all. Gotta get it right. Can’t forget anything.

    Sh’yeah, I gotta get over that. 😉

    Also just started listening to the cd and really enjoying it so far!

  12. Julie Stuart
    December 9, 2009 | 11:35 am

    OMG, this is such a freaking awesome rockin’ revelation. From one perfectionist to another, I hear you loud and clear. And guess what, I’ve got your back. I will pester and badger you about just doing the thing…perfect or not…if you do the same for me!
    Love love love this post!

  13. Liz
    December 9, 2009 | 11:37 am

    Hi, my name is Liz and I’m a recovering perfectionist… I’ll just share my mantra on this which also (go figure) comes from a musician:
    So ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack in everything.
    That’s where the light gets in.

    It’s this last bit that keeps me going. Recognizing how often ‘perfection’ keeps people away- who wants to go visit Martha Stewart? and how the ‘imperfections’ let others in.

  14. Tami
    December 9, 2009 | 12:10 pm

    Hey Fabeku-

    Amazing blog post! I’ve totally been there, but I think I’ve come a long way in changing my perfectionist habits. I know it can be especially difficult in situations where we are creating something. It’s like you are putting a piece of yourself out there, for the world to see. And judge. And that’s really hard!

    I’m so happy that you’ve chosen to screw the ‘perfect’, and rock out! I can’t wait to hear the download, I’m sure it is awesome. Thanks for giving us the chance to hear it. YOU ROCK!

    Love,
    Tami

  15. Natalia
    December 9, 2009 | 12:18 pm

    Rock-freaking-on!

    I’m right there with you on the punk lovin’!

    Perfectionism can piss off, indeed. And other, more offensive, things too. Also, grades are lame.

    Congratulations!
    .-= Natalia´s last blog ..Hello there! =-.

  16. Wendy Cholbi
    December 9, 2009 | 12:24 pm

    Oh, maaaaaan…. I flashed back to high school when I took the SAT, and got a 790 in the verbal section and 700 in math (800 is “perfect”). The comment from my dad? “Why didn’t you do as well in math as you did in verbal?” *cue me banging my head against a wall*

    So yeah, I’ve struggled with this perfectionsim thingy too, for basically my whole life. I really recognize the slow sinking feeling (in your case, listening to the CD, in my case, listening to my recorded teleclasses) and panicky thinking that “I’m just doing quality control” when I keep a lid on them or promise myself I’ll edit them to death before letting anyone hear a single sentence.

    And I applaud and salaam you for releasing this CD into the world anyway, in blatant punk-inspired defiance of the internal voice that says it’s not good enough. Oi! Piss off, perfectionism!
    .-= Wendy Cholbi´s last blog ..Insight: Using the cruise control button that was right in front of me =-.

  17. Barbara Martin (
    December 9, 2009 | 1:39 pm

    You. Nailed. It.

    No matter how many times we “know” we are perfectionisting on something AGAIN it is still so hard to “let it go” and put the thing out there.
    Why???????????????????? do we put ourselves through this crap.

    Thank you for reminding us it is not necessary. We all need to hear this over and over again, so we can begin to internalize and learn it for ourselves. 🙂

    Fabeku, thank you for putting your sound magic and yourself out into the world.
    .-= Barbara Martin (@Reptitude)´s last blog ..Special Daily Writer Note =-.

  18. Debbie Riley-Magnus
    December 9, 2009 | 1:55 pm

    Inspiring! How could you possibly know how badly I needed to hear this right now? Best of luck with EVERYTHING!

    Debbie Riley-Magnus

  19. Victoria Brouhard
    December 9, 2009 | 2:31 pm

    Wow…your report card experiences were so similar to mine, it gave me chills when I read this.

    I think I need to go build an altar to the punk rock superstars to remind me to put passion before polish and get my stuff out there.

    Thank you for not letting the perfectionism thing stop you!
    .-= Victoria Brouhard´s last blog ..Quitting the Man: 34 Days Since Freedom =-.

  20. Wormy
    December 9, 2009 | 3:50 pm

    Woot! I love it. Go you, kick that perfectionism right out the door.

    I’m working on it. Every assignment feels like torture – Gah! They’re going to judge me on this! What if it isn’t first class? Perhaps if I don’t do it? Then leave it to last minute so it really does suck.

    But slowly, I’m learning to give myself more of a fighting chance. It comes with liking myself more and more.
    .-= Wormy´s last blog ..Unexpected Progress =-.

  21. Alexia
    December 9, 2009 | 4:00 pm

    wow.
    so much of this is me it’s almost freaky.

    and today’s blog post is mostly about perfectionism too.

    Dude, get out of my head! 😉

  22. Cath
    December 9, 2009 | 4:41 pm

    totally resonates! (as a fellow recovering perfectionist)

    Looking forward to listening to the download 🙂

    Cath

  23. Dave Rowley
    December 9, 2009 | 4:43 pm

    Wow! It was all I could do to not cheer as I was reading this. I can relate to being floored by perfectionism too, and the messages in childhood.

    My Grandfather’s response to hearing I’d got 95% on a test when I was in school: “What happened to the other 5%.” (I’m guessing the other 5% was skipping school and rocking out.)

    I’m sure perfectionism wears a three-piece suit and starched shirts, that’s what makes Punk Rock such a triumphant antidote!

    Thanks for the great post!

  24. Ramona
    December 9, 2009 | 5:34 pm

    Wow, just sat down at the computer for a quick peak at twitter & THIS is the first RT I read. Now that’s serendipity. The Universe is conspiring on me for something. Yesterday I find out I’m one of Barbara Sher’s Scanners – people who can’t settle on one thing & want to do a bunch of different things. Today I find a ton more people like me on the perfectionist trait (won’t say defect).

    Funny though, my experience with my Mom was totally the opposite. She was a “good enough” type of person, but always, from the time I can remember, scolded me with “your such a perfectionist.” My Dad died a tragic death when I was six (which screwed me up to this day because I was the only one in the house at the time) and she always reminded me I was like him, and my brother was like her. Well, if I go on I’m going to have to request a couch & you’re going to expect Shrink fees.

    All I have to say is that everyone that has commented here must be the brothers & sisters I never knew I had. Dang straight I’ll be following all your arses on twitter. You can run but you can’t hide. You’ve revealed yourselves to me.

    And finally, still listening to the CD. You’re GIVING this away??? You’re way too kind, and it is perfect just the way it is!!
    .-= Ramona´s last blog ..Equita – Essentials for Ethical Living =-.

  25. Patty K
    December 9, 2009 | 5:35 pm

    And I thought I was the only one with a parent (in my case, my dad) who asked what happened to the 2%

    I gave up trying to please him the day I got 100% and he asked why I didn’t get 101% He thought he was being was funny. Looking back, I like to think that it was his way of telling me he was proud of me. But it sucked at the time.

    Thank you for this article. I’m working on telling perfectionism to piss off too (as she reads, re-read, edits and hesitates to press the Submit Comment…because, well…)

  26. Spring Walker
    December 9, 2009 | 5:52 pm

    Fabeku – thank you for your beautiful music download. I have a strong feeling that while you were recording this the spirits were perfectly there helping you get to the piss off perfectionism place of healing and also – they wanted us all to have a free download!!!!! Woot!! I love the percussion-ey style with this recording. You know my mantra – YOU ROCK. I have never been a perfectionist. I have always wanted to be…..hehe. I think Joey must be one of my ancestors…….big hugs.

  27. chris zydel
    December 9, 2009 | 6:00 pm

    YAY for punk rock… YAY for dear old Joey Ramone.. and YAY for recovering perfectionism. I mean, who needs those banshees anyway??? They hurt your ears and just cause loads of crummy feelings ):

    Glad to hear you’re getting your gorgeousness out into the world with a lot less torture and more kick ass YES!!

    Can’t wait to hear your CD!!
    .-= chris zydel´s last blog ..Why I Don’t Believe In The Whole Idea Of Bad Art =-.

  28. Linnea (cafemercury)
    December 9, 2009 | 7:29 pm

    Good for you. I sympathize. Only in my case, I was the one pointing out the B-plus that marred my otherwise straight-A report card, when my parents were perfectly find with it.

    I’m glad you’re in recovery, and that our paths crossed. As I’m a fledgling at recovery, I shall refer to this post for inspiration.

    Now, excuse me while I hit the “download” button.
    .-= Linnea (cafemercury)´s last blog ..What Does Your Spirit Wish For? (Wishcasting Wednesday) =-.

  29. Lilly
    December 9, 2009 | 8:32 pm

    Hi Fabeku, great post about perfectionism. And thank you so much for the download! I think people that strive for perfection when the end product help others – deserve a real break. This friend once told me “don’t should on yourself”! I thought that was a good saying. I go pretty OCD wacky fairly often, and it’s ironic because your sound healing really helps with it.
    Take care, Lilly

  30. Josiane
    December 9, 2009 | 10:48 pm

    That is all so, so me (except that just like Linnea, no one but me has ever asked me to be perfect, at least not directly) – down to the part where you say you’d been working on getting this site ready for over a year. Yeah, I’ve spent a couple of years already arranging stuff about my Thing in my mind, with nothing to show for it yet – except for the bill I’ve received lately saying that it’s time to renew my hosting… *sigh* So much stuck to go through before I can let myself really get started!
    But this post is a good reminder of what matters, and it’s one more thing on the list of awesome stuff that are having a positive impact and will thus help me get there soon(ish)er. Thank you, Fabeku! And thanks also for the download – I’m listening to it right now, it’s gorgeous stuff!
    .-= Josiane´s last blog ..Noticing – the dragonfly edition =-.

  31. Travis
    December 9, 2009 | 10:53 pm

    Okay, ruling post. Simply ruling. Thank you so much for that. Awesome perspective and fuel for much slacking and thought. I’mma put on some ska and make some dinner and not get so hung up on projects.

    Cheers!

  32. Mahala Mazerov
    December 9, 2009 | 11:55 pm

    I had a friend whose parents gave her money for every A she got. I almost fainted when she told me. Money? You get money? And it was a lot. Like $100 per A. She’s getting money and I’m getting maybe not letting everybody down this time or being a disgrace to my whole family.

    Thank you, Fabeku. I may just have to print this one out and hang it on my wall.
    .-= Mahala Mazerov´s last blog ..Love Note For Hard Times =-.

  33. Laurie Foley
    December 10, 2009 | 5:30 am

    You had me at A.
    .-= Laurie Foley´s last blog ..Values-Driven Resolutions (and a worksheet, too!) =-.

  34. Tatty Franey
    December 10, 2009 | 4:33 pm

    I LOVE this post and I LOVE the Ramones and I LOVE you Fabeku for having such amazing insights!
    Yep, Joey Ramone can’t really sing and the lyrics are something else, but man they have been rocking for decades, and will continue to do so.
    Love reading you and love even more listening to you 🙂

  35. Fabeku
    December 10, 2009 | 9:35 pm

    Hey taters!

    I’m so glad you all dug this post. And look at you with all these amazing comments… Wow!

    @Small Elk – Yeah, it’s wild how much pressure we put on ourselves. And how much weight we carry. Glad you’ve been able to shake it!

    @Katie – I totally admire how you’ve stuck with knitting, and how it’s helped with the perfectionist thing. I think of how many times I’ve stopped myself from learning something new because I was afraid I’d fail. And the prom dress story? Wow!

    @Sulwyn – So much hard there. And so so so much I get it from me. Because I totally do. And yeah, it absolutely sucks. I’m rooting for you. Lots.

    @Joely – Thanks tons.

    @Elizabeth – You can borrow Joey anytime. Totally. I’m glad Shiva Nata and yoga are helping.

    Shiva Nata pushed every perfectionism button I have and then some. (Duh, right?) But it also gave me permission to do something badly. Which I needed.

    You also make a great point about mixed messages. Being told it doesn’t matter. Do your best. But then there are expectations around what that best should look like. Horrid, horrid, horrid… you’re so right.

    @Moonslark – I love what you said about seeing the potential. That rocks. And I’m pretty sure all of us that have hit this perfectionism wall would be in a totally different place if we were handed that bit of smart.

    And I can hear the hard in what you’re saying. The hiding stuff and being frozen in your tracks. Yes, yes, yes. I know that gig so well. But I love that you’re giving yourself more room to try stuff without having to be perfect. Yay!

    @Jamie – I am totally down with playing in the mud and the ripping of the jeans. And yeah, I’ve got the shaved head bit down. (big grin)

    @Sarah – I think pretty good hurts a ton too. No one wants to hear what we did was pretty good. Ouch. We want to feel like we’re fabulous, that what we’re doing rocks. Sorry you got the pretty good thing. Oy.

    And yeah, that quality control thing was a big thing for me. I had to get real about what was really happening. Which made it easy to take a little tiny baby step away from the perfectionist thing.

    @Hayden – Cosmic, kismetic kickassery! That rings my awesome bell. I get the waiting bit. That holding pattern sucks so much. Especially when it’s holding back the awesome. And Patti Smith as a life coach… Rock. On.

    @Emma – Reading the line about the 2%… ouch. Big ouch. Isn’t it wild how deep this stuff goes and how hard it registers?

    I’m sorry to hear about the anxiety and the perfectionism. It’s so so so hard. Rah and much love right back atcha!

    @Amy – That’s a great point. I almost never say Oh, I want this to be perfect. Because then I’d get how irrational that is. I usually dress it up in other words that sound more reasonable.Like good enough. But I know I really mean perfect.

    I think sometimes that just makes it even harder, because it’s more subtle. So we chase it longer and harder, and get tied up in it easier. Oof. Not fun at all.

    @Julie – I am all about mutual pestering. Bring it on. Recovering perfectionists of the world UNITE!

    @Liz – Your. Mantra. Rocks.

    It’s so true. And so powerful. And so awesome.

    I remember reading a story about how a particular indigenous tribe would always make a scratch or poke a hole in their pottery when they were making it, to make room for the good spirits to enter it.

    No hole. No good spirits. No good.

    There’s really a lot of awesome happening in those cracks and holes. I’m so glad you brought that into the discussion. Thank you!

    @Tami – Right on for making big strides. That is awesome! And totally yay-worthy. (So yay!) And yeah, the creative stuff can be tricky. There’s an intimacy level there that can be scary by itself. And when you toss the perfectionist stuff on top of it all… eek!

    @Natalia – Punk love 4ever! And thanks for telling perfectionism to piss off too. That totally made me smile. And make a funny punk face.

    @Wendy – Sorrysorrysorry. That’s another ouch situation. And the slow sinking feeling. And the panic. Oy. My stomach turned just thinking about those old familiar flavors of ack. And more piss off, perfectionism! Yay!

    @Barbara – Yeah, it can be really hard to let go. Even when we get that we’re all knotted up with perfectionism stuff. And yeah, I do think that hearing this again and again (and again and again) helps.

    How can we keep reminder each other of this? Any ideas? Anyone?

    @Debbie – I’m glad this landed at the right time for you. I give the credit to Joey. (grin)

    @Victoria – Oh no, you had the same kind of report card responses? Ack! And ouch! And I’m sorry. I love the punk rock altar idea. Do you mind if I borrow this idea? Because I totally want to do this.

    @Wormy – Ooh, the liking yourself more is a big part of the equation, isn’t it? That’s a brilliant point!

    That’s been a big help for me. The more ok I am with who I am – all perfectly imperfect – the easier it is to cut myself a little slack.

    At least sometimes. (grin>

    @Alexia – Vulcan Mind Meld! Vulcan Mind Meld! I read your post. And loved it. I also loved what Dave wrote about just going with it. Smart stuff.

    @Cath – Yay! And yay for being in the recovery part of this whole thing. Woohoo!

    @Dave – I’m sorry you relate on the crappy kidlet messages. Isn’t it something how so many of us here have gotten similar messages? And how they’ve all landed in pretty much the same way? Oy.

    I also loved what you said about the way perfectionism dresses. Three piece suits? Whoa. That makes me want to crank up the Ramones even louder. (grin)

    @Ramona – I’m so glad you can relate to what’s cookin’ here. It’s kind of nice to find a tribe of people who really get it, isn’t it? There’s lots of good schtuff in that connection methinks.

    @Patty – I can totally see how the 101% thing would have been seriously ouch at the time. It would have landed that way for me too.

    And I’m so so so glad you pressed the submit button. You totally told perfectionism to piss off. Go you!

    @Spring – I think it’s awesome that you’ve never gotten snagged in the perfectionist stuff. That’s absolutely fabulous!

    @Chris – Yeah, who needs banshees. Unless we’re talkin’ Siouxsie & The Banshee. Then I’m all over it. Otherwise, no thanks. (grin)

    @Linnea – Perfectionism is a lot of ouch no matter where it comes from. And feeling like you had to point out a B-? Ouch. And I’m sorry for the ouch. I’m glad we’ve bumped into each other on the interwebs. I figure we can all use as much support as we can get with this stuff.

    @Lilly – I love the don’t should on yourself thing. I think I first heard that from Iyanla Vanzant. And I thought it was awesome. I’m glad to hear the sound stuff helps you. It’s helped me a lot with this stuff too. Lots and lots, really.

    @Josiane – I hear you on the stuck and all the hard that comes with it.

    At one point, I was so stuck with getting this site out there that I was pretty sure it would never happen. I couldn’t imagine getting through that kind of stuck. The sound stuff is what helped get me unknotted and able to inch forward.

    All of that to say that you will totally get there. And I will be woohooing when your own unique flavor of gorgeous is unveiled.

    @Travis – Right on for rocking the ska! And not getting tripped up with projects.

    @Mahala – Disgrace. Ack. That’s such a hard word, isn’t it? So much there.

    And ohmygod I so get what you’re saying here. A girl I dated used to get all kinds of cash from her parents for good grades. It blew my mind.

    For me, reports cards were a chance to throw up on myself. For her, it was like winning the lottery. Wild stuff.

    @Laurie – Aw, thank you. That’s awesome. And so are you.

    @Tatty – Yeah, the Ramones rock like no one else, don’t they? I love pretty much all punk. But there are a few bands that just have some extra mojo for me. The Ramones are right up there at the top of that list.

    Thank you all for all of your comments and sharing and smartness. Thanks for showing up and hanging out. I appreciate you all so much.

    Viva Joey Ramone!

  36. Goddess Leonie
    December 11, 2009 | 1:23 am

    *big bear hugs* to you dearheart…
    i think you rock so very, very much!
    .-= Goddess Leonie | Goddess Guidebook´s last blog ..Three: Winners & Last Day =-.

  37. Christina Gremore
    December 15, 2009 | 2:08 pm

    It’s interesting to me to see how many people were actually doing really well in one subject, but if they weren’t doing equally well in others, their parents focused on the ones that they hadn’t excelled in, saying, “Work on bringing that one up.” Whereas all the ‘new economy’ business leaders today say to focus on continuing to build up your strengths, and get someone else with complementary skills to help you with your weaknesses. Harry Crews said, “Nothing good in the world has ever been done by well-rounded people. The good work is done by people with jagged, broken edges, because those edges cut things and leave an imprint, a design.”

    You also might get a kick out of reading my post on a similar subject: Why Report Cards Represent Everything That is Wrong with the World Today. (I get a little extreme when I talk about Schools, sometimes.)

  38. Lisa Wood
    December 21, 2009 | 5:45 pm

    Isn’t it sad that so much of this behavior is learned? Really – how many of us would strive to be perfect if someone somewhere along the line hadn’t trained us that less than perfection wasn’t good enough?

    I’ve got my own stories too – stories of working so very hard on something and being so damn proud of it, only to show it to my mother and have her instantly point out something that wasn’t perfect in her eyes. Crushed.

    But you know what? She was a perfectionist too – and I know for a fact she got that because she was never good enough in her father’s eyes, or in my father’s eyes, for that matter. Her competence/ability/looks/whatever defined her value as a human being. She had to be perfect – even when perfect wasn’t good enough.

    Let’s all make a promise to lay off a bit and be kinder to ourselves. I love the cd download.

    And I love the Ramones. 🙂
    .-= Lisa Wood´s last blog ..How to Find Profitable Keywords for your Niche =-.

  39. Fabeku
    December 22, 2009 | 8:19 pm

    @Lisa – Right on about the learned part. Sometimes the stuff we inherit sucks. Sorry and ouch for your experiences with this stuff. Blech. I dig the fact that you can see where your mom’s stuff came from. That’s big. And sometimes really, really helpful. As for the promise to lay off? I’m with you 100%!

  40. Amanda Alexander PCC ICF
    January 5, 2010 | 12:47 pm

    Great lessons from life itself, that’s often the best way. We can strive for perfection, but remember that it is always going to be just out of reach. That’s the best way to motivate ourselves and to truly make a difference!

    Amanda Alexander PCC (ICF) Professional coaching for working mothers

  41. Kris Cahill
    June 7, 2012 | 4:29 pm

    Thank you for this awesome post on the dangers of perfectionism. I, too, am a recovering perfectionista.

    I love love love the Ramones too! The Sex Pistols were like life healers to me. Not to mention the Clash, Stranglers, etc… the grungier the better. All of that music helped me to heal and kick Catholic school out of my space once and for all. Not to mention Per-fectionism! That toxic self abusing sludge.

    I still remember having an argument with a friend years back who was looking down his nose at the musicality of the punk bands I loved. And in the argument I realized a similar thing to the one you write about so beautifully here – the punk rockers were here to shake it up, destroy the old, and do it without apology for what they offered in exchange. Revolution was here NOW baby. Shake it!

    The kicker is that what they brought in exchange – the gift they gave – was Energy and Spirit. A breath of fresh air – life itself! Hooray!

    I like how you create, Fabeku. Glad to be here to read and experience your amazing site.

  42. Dani
    October 23, 2014 | 11:14 pm

    Just stopping in to tell you from the future that you ended up getting a Joey Ramone Mantra Bracelet.

    <3

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