Nobody gets how hard it hits when you're just not perfect. Only perfect is good enough. You're told it over and over again, maybe not outright, but it's there.
So whenever I don't get 100% on a test, whenever I don't have an A in a class, whenever I do not do good enough, and only perfection is good enough, it hurts.
So I go home, to try and hold the pieces together another day, another night, another time of not being what others see me as.
A little tape there, a little glue here, all to delay the inevitable avalanche when I finally break and give up, aching from all my people-pleasing.
"You can do better." I've heard those words a million times, how I clearly am not doing good enough because I can do better. How a B is not an A, and I can get an A. Not just an A, but an A+, and only an A+, my very best, is good enough!
Maybe it's not my very best. Maybe a B is the best I can do.
I am lazy, worthless, stupid, a waste of space. I can do better but I'm not, so I must be doing something wrong. I must be lazy because I choose to write instead of do homework. I must be stupid because x and y does not equal z and I've done the calculations over and over again and can't get it right. I must be worthless because at my conception, all that happened was some cell division and DNA shifting and I am not doing good enough. I am wasting oxygen better given to people who've won Nobel prizes, people who have accomplished things.
I can do better. I shoot for the stars, land on the moon, and all I hear is "you can do better, you can do better, you can do better!" Because the moon isn't good enough, millions of miles from Earth, I have to reach the lightyears, I have to go so far and then it's just farther, spiraling out of control like my dreams that most people would see as nightmares. Dreams where it's just me, alone, but finally with that silence I can find peace.
I play music loud, louder, bursting it so that maybe I can burst, trying to drown out all the noise of "you can do better". That's not good enough, because you can do better.
No, I can't.
Maybe this is all I am. Me. I always try and be a better person, always try to improve, but maybe this is as close to perfect as I can get. Maybe my best isn't an A but a C. Maybe I need to breathe, take a deep breath, run as fast as I can and let go of all this nonsense of 'not perfect'.
"You can do better" isn't comforting or encouraging or whatever you think it may be. It is a murderous, back-breaking phrase that will destroy me and whoever else you use it on.
We don't need to hear "you can do better" for the millionth time. We need to hear, "You've done good enough", "You've succeeded", "You've done a good job". Not "you can do better", because that's just "it's not good enough, try again" in another turn of phrase. It's another way to break and to control.
We need to hear "You've done well." We need to hear "You've done it." Not that we can do a better job in this mysterious "next time" you keep going on about. But that, as we are, we're good enough. We don't need perfection. We just need to be us.