Under Pressure

The words to Queen’s music bops through my head as I try, and fail, to have a good cry. Why can’t I cry when I want to, damnit? Crying always creeps up on me at the most inopportune of moments, sneaking up behind me and giving me a big shove like the schoolyard bully. But when I’ve had a tough day and want to cry it out, my eyes are dry as the Sahara. What gives? Now I feel bad about not being able to cry, to express myself in the way I feel would be most fit. So while I’m not putting on the waterworks, I might as well take advantage of the lack of blurry vision and muse on the pressure I put on myself to perform, even in this department.

I’m always doing it- I’m a perfectionist. Not that its any excuse, but I do feel like the perfectionism does somewhat explain the pressure that weighs down on me day after day. An amazing therapist at my intensive program pointed out to me one day that we shape our understanding of the world not necessary on the situations that occur but on our interpretation of these situations. This is to say, no, my parents never pushed me to perform. I wasn’t teased at school, no teacher told me I wasn’t good enough. But to me, what I felt about the lack of specificity in my performance, my general “good”ness at most tasks I tackled without an “exceptional” performance in one particular, was failure. Failure to live up to some percieved expectations of me from the world. I felt as if my lack of direction forced me into doing not just one thing particularly well, but everything 100%, genuinely perfect. Now the fallacy in my thinking is that obviously perfection is unattainable. So I wasted years of my life chasing down a dream that was impossible to achieve. Searching for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, that oasis in the desert that turns out to be a mirage.

Regardless of my insight into the inefficiency of my pursuit of perfection that causes me to dump pressure onto my shoulders, I still do it. Obviously, the fact that I can’t even allow myself to relax about little things like not being able to cry when I want to reflects a deep-seated desire to control myself and my surroundings alike. Maybe I’ll never get to a point where I can truly give in to the forces of kismet and chance and just allow myself to take a step back from potential pressures. Then again, maybe one day I’ll be totally ok. With myself, with the world, and with chance. Maybe.

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One Response to Under Pressure

  1. Jennifer Cantlon says:

    You continue to amaze me. Your looking into not being able to cry, the pressure of that, has lead you, yet again, into understanding something vital about yourself.
    I think tears are only one expression of crying.

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