Those who liked my Open Letter and Millennial Problems posts will really like this one from Courtney Stoker: From Austin to A&M: Don’t you know you aren’t special?
I was told, proudly, that I was a perfectionist, and no one even noticed that my perfectionism was a generational symptom of a profoundly dysfunctional way of living. Most people I was friends with were “perfectionists,” because we knew that working hard didn’t guarantee us anything. Perfection didn’t guarantee us anything. We knew that at 17. So we obsessed, and we compared notes, and we deprived ourselves of sleep. We accrued a figurative wall of trophies, not because we thought they were worth anything, or because we were proud of them. Because we needed a wall of trophies to get into college, to get scholarship money. Perfectionism, we were told, was a virtue. And it made us worn out, anxious, depressed, and terrified to fail.
When I graduated from high school, my favorite teacher wrote in a card to me that she was impressed with how I did it all, that I was a superwoman. And when I read it, I literally cried with relief, because I thought, I don’t have to do it anymore. I don’t have to survive on 4–5 hours of sleep and constant exhaustion. I don’t have to hear people crow, “I don’t know how you do it!” and bite back the bitter “I do it by not sleeping and having weekly panic attacks.”