Sunday, February 15, 2015

Keeping Perfectionism in Check... Mostly.

I've often written about being a perfectionist.  There are aspects of perfectionism that are good and useful.  It helps me produce clean finished designs with clear instruction. It gives me humility and pushes me to make corrections quick and publicly so other knitters don't get stuck or frustrated with my patterns.  It gives me pride in my work.

Perfectionism has a dark side as well.  Striving for the ultimate is frustrating. It fills me with self-doubt and makes me second guess every step of my design - every aspect, choice and idea from fiber to needles, gauge to stitch pattern and name to choice of abbreviations.  It bins ideas before they get a fair shake.

Double edge swords need to be kept sharp, stored well and used wisely.  I think perfectionism is just such a beast; sometimes you need to indulge in it, and sometimes you need to make efforts to keep it in check.  Today I had the pleasure in doing just that.

There is a wonderful business here in Albuquerque that offers "Sip & Paint" classes.  Each date has a different offering. Book for the image of your choice, grab an apron, glass (or bottle) of wine, listen to good music, follow along with a skilled, entertaining and fun instructor, and anytime your inner perfectionist starts to butt in, have another swallow of wine and remind yourself to let go.

I went with my dear friend Becks.  Becks is the best kind of friend. She inspires me, supports my work (she's my test knitter and exquisite at it!), listens, advises and balances me to so many ways.  She is fun loving, enjoys a good glass of wine, and is up for adventure.  We each painted our version of the class painting. We both encouraged each other to push off our own personal perfectionist. We laughed, we shared a bottle, we painted.

This exercise hasn't eliminated my perfectionist, but it has made me feel more balanced.  I ended up with a painting I love. Every time I look at it, I'm reminded of each moment, each decision that I hesitated thinking it wasn't good enough, then set my hesitation aside and let go.  I "wung it" and just painted, knowing that I wasn't there to create art - I was there to have a good time.  And in the end, I actually like the result. It's proof that not struggling each choice doesn't always make the end product better.