Perfect is Boring — Victoria Stokel
TRIGGER WARNING: SELF-HARM
I covered my legs up a lot in high school. Although I don’t anymore, there was a reason for it back then, but I struggled to piece together the “why?” for a very long time. Every detail about myself, I picked apart. Every mistake or inconsistency I would make, I picked it apart. There was a point where I was hurting more than helping myself. But, it wasn’t just my appearance, mistakes, or grades that I would beat myself up about. My tendency to constantly achieve an unobtainable vision of perfection even made its way into the sports I played growing up. I remember after a tennis camp I was at, I ran back up to my hotel room just so I could hit my legs as hard as I could with my tennis racket, constantly having bright red welts that I decided to cover up, because I had stubbornly decided that I was not playing well enough, and nobody could tell me differently.
It wasn’t until college that I truly recognized and understood how negatively impactful my own self-destructiveness was. I carried this twisted philosophy that by giving myself countless welts, it would motivate me to perform better in all aspects of my life, although it didn’t. I later realized I was my own worst enemy. It became easy to pretend that I was happier or better than I actually was. Everything became easier when you decided to ignore it, or so I thought. But, it was not until the end of my sophomore year of college that I knew I needed to make a change. I took the deep dive into holistic psychology, well-being, and mental health, and slowly started to pick at the toxic protective mechanisms that I had created around myself since childhood.
During the summer of 2019, I started to figure things out, and had finally figured out the truth of my subconscious and how to recreate myself in a healthy and positive way. I’m not really sure what propelled it, but I had an epiphany that self-compassion was the missing piece to the puzzle of my up and down mental health. For so long, I had spent the majority of my time showing compassion to others that I didn’t realize I simultaneously needed to show it to myself. For so long, I had thought that mental health was being able to take care of others, even if you couldn’t take care of yourself, and that is simply not true.
I started with baby steps. I quite literally felt like a child, re-learning how to take care of myself and my needs. Some days, I would sit with my thoughts, in complete silence. I know that sounds strange, but through observation, I learned that most don’t like to sit with their thoughts, including myself. In this discovery of self-compassion, my mind resisted, kicked, screamed, and put up massive fights. I was caring for myself in a way that my body and mind were not used to, and my own mind resisted me, and it once again became me against me. I spent many months picking apart my subconscious, searching for answers. But, after emerging from the fog of my mind, I learned to recognize the importance in taking time for yourself, the importance of checking in with yourself and others, and the importance in not believing every thought that crosses your mind, and I finally learned that my mind doesn’t have to be a scary, overwhelming place.
After years and years, I learned how degrading my own thoughts could be, and that’s not okay or healthy. Simply, I’ve learned not to take life so seriously, that perfect is boring, and am proud of the place that showing myself self-compassion has gotten to me to. No longer am I destructing myself, picking apart my grades, appearance, what I wear, and the list goes on. Now, and particularly with the help of WSN, I’ve learned the irreplaceable value in simply showing up and being a kind individual, both to others and yourself.