It was a Tuesday morning and I woke up an hour later than intended. I wanted to get up early, put on some makeup, and put on a cute dress to take over the createHER Collective Instagram story for the day. That didn’t happen exactly as planned, but I handled it better than what my expectations were the previous day.
I ended the night signing off to watch “Grey’s Anatomy,” but also signed off with a whole lot of new perspectives on empowerment and the phrase, “go big or go home.”
The first time I ever heard that phrase was on my very first day of high school when one of my teachers talked about the time she broke her vegetarianism to eat a huge burger — bone marrow and all.
But should we really go by this phrase? The answer is no, and I’ll tell you why.
I remember going by this phrase when applying to undergraduate schools — didn’t work out! I followed this phrase when I started submitting my poetry and artwork to the top literary magazines in the country — didn’t work out! That’s when I started looking at smaller publications that I never even heard of until I joined Twitter again. Those definitely worked out (and helped me build a killer CV to use for grad school apps if I do say so myself.)
When looking at graduate schools too, for my MFA, I had that same superficial outlook that I had when I was a junior/senior in high school. I wanted to apply to (and googled) “Best MFA schools in the U.S.” But coming from a “small-but-bigger-than-SAC” school like RWU, who knows if I even stand a chance? What I learned, especially from being in the [insert 2 Ivy League schools here] applicant Facebook groups, just because they are ostensibly the “best,” “top-tier,” and “among the elite,” that doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for you.
My point in bringing up undergraduate and graduate institutions is that it’s not worth gnawing on your thumb right to the bone marrow to prove yourself — to anyone or anything. I was reminded of a poem I wrote:
Perfection is a weakness of mine
To be honest, when I was in high school, I strived for perfection and I’ll be honest it gave me a little OCD!
I’m trying to gnaw on this idea of being perfect;
I chew it down right to that savory bone marrow
until there’s nothing left to even suck on anymore—
at this point all I’m doing is sucking on that
circular piece of bone. The bone is in my right thumb
and I’ve sucked on it so much to feel like I’ve lost
Perfection is like sucking on a piece of bone marrow—
you cleanse it of all the meat and the cells that go with it,
until there’s nothing anymore. It becomes addictive,
like a fidget toy. People tell you you’re doing great by
cleaning it and getting all the necessary juice to make you
feel manly, accomplished, whatever. Then you become
addicted to being perfect and receiving that praise.
Even when you feel like you’re unappreciated, just know that you’re doing a great job and people really do appreciate what you do and how hard you work. If they don’t, it’s their loss!
Moral of the story: PERFECTION IS UNATTAINABLE!