I Wrote a Book About Perfection. And It Nearly Broke Me.

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Generally speaking, I do not like the overly dramatic headline. You know the ones. They’re all:

I Only Fed My Children Grass Fed Everything. We Nearly Died.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation. We Nearly Died.

My Husband Said This to Me, and He Nearly Died (lotsa suspense with that one. Clickbait, you know)

But you know, this post’s title? It’s apt. 

By the way, “apt” is a fancy word that we writerly people use when we wanna say, “Holy cow this just about smacked me upside the head with the Big Cast Iron Skillet of Truth”

Writing Perfect was… perfectly horrible.

I struggled, y’all. For two reasons:

  1. Second book syndrome. The second book has an expectation attached to it and there is one small issue with that. I have an ego the size of some small eastern state, let’s say… Maine, and Gosh Darn It, People… PLEASE LIKE ME!
  2. The book was about my relapse. That really sucked while it was happening AND it sucked in the re-telling. Sucked all around so to speak. And I know “sucked” isn’t Pulitzer level writing but it really just sorta hits the mark on how it all felt.

Relapses are awful. They just are. They happen for a whole lot of reasons, but mainly they happen because we forget who we were, what happened, and who we are now. I forgot who Dana was. I lost her amidst things like: Holiday expectations, worry, guilt, and that oh-so popular one:

SHAME.

Shame likes alcohol. It likes to accessorize with booze, saying things like, “Wow, this alcohol really brings out the color of my eyes, and also I’m so totally ashamed of all of this,” or something. That analogy doesn’t really make much sense but you get the idea.

We feel shame. We drink. We feel more shame. We drink to fix that. We feel MORE ashamed… and so on on the nutball Tilt-A-Whirl of Slowly Increasing Despair.

I get that.

What I wasn’t ready for? The perfection angle nearly perfected me into a whole DIFFERENT level of Slowly Increasing Despair.

You see, the book is about eschewing perfection. And yes, “eschewing” is another fancy word for “RUN AWAY!! RUN AWAY! PERFECTION WILL KILL YOU!!”

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And I knew that. Going in, I knew it. 

It’s a simple mathematical formula:

Perfection = Bad.

Imperfection = Good

Momsie + Imperfection = Progress, not… Well, you get the point.

But, something happened while I sat down and tried to get the jumbled ideas all swept up into one book. They would not… unjumble.

And then something happened when I finally had something to edit. The book would not… behave.

And I nearly tore my proverbial hair out trying to make it all make sense.

Perfect comes out this month y’all. We’re finally there, the final countdown is upon us. And I shake my head and look at my book and think, “You are NOT PERFECT.”

I think this is when the Cast Iron Skillet of Irony also comes into play.

When we reveal our weaknesses to others, show the soft underbelly and all the sadness and mess – we are likely to fall apart a little. I know that now. And Perfect was just another way of working all this out. And by the way, I do happen to think it’s a pretty good book (after much work and wow thank you editors) It’s not Perfect, but it’s me, and I am just so grateful that I am still here to say,

“Perfect is for puppies. I’ll just Momsie along.”

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