I am the Imperfect Diva. I am an Opera singer using my time in a rather tempestuous career to explore the notion of perfectionism.
“Perfectionism” or “being a perfectionist” affects numerous people in a wide a variety of fields, its hardly surprising considering the rise of social media and the various platforms in which we represent the best version of ourselves, the changing dynamics and expectations in the work place, and the need to perform consistently at the top of your game or risk being replaced.
No wonder mental health problems seem to be increasing on a rapid scale, and I feel certain that perfectionism has its own role in this.
My own experience
The expectation for me to sing perfectly under highly pressurized circumstances has led me to suffer with often crippling anxiety. Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately for me, my voice cannot be separated from whatever I am going through. After all, our voices are our primal form of communication, expressing our inner worlds and connecting with others.
This means that when I am at the height of my anxiety and pretending that I’m ok or trying too hard to be a good enough, my singing has royally sucked. My obsession with being good took me away from the actual act of singing as I was observing myself from the eyes of critics whilst performing.
But there is a sliver lining, because I could not perform to the ability to which I knew I was capable, I had to ask myself some questions; what is perfectionism, how much is my own expectations or others expectations of me? what would it feel like to let go of perfectionism and what would it mean for my voice? How can I let go of perfectionism? What if I could make peace with the aspects of myself that I have felt or have been told are not compatible with the life that I am pursuing?
So the purpose of this blog is for me to share what I’m learning and noticing.
The things that I have learned so far, have been really interesting helping me gain perspective about perfectionism, and to be kinder and more accepting of my imperfect self! I hope that this blog can be useful to anyone who has felt “not good enough”, or told to “grow a thick skin”, or has felt judged or fraudulent. You are certainly not alone, welcome to the imperfectionist party!