Welcome back everyone!
Before you keep reading, this is a continuation of my recent “Coping With Perfectionism” post, so go check that out if you haven’t already- it’s almost like a little series, except I’m not sure if I will continue it beyond this post. I’ve established that I struggle with being a perfectionist and not wanting to do things if I know I’m not skilled at them/can’t do it well, so that has led to a long history of me struggling to commit to things.
When you hear “commitment issues,” you might think of relationships or flaky people. I’m not talking about either of these things. I often start things with full intent of staying committed to them, and I’m usually very excited about starting a new activity/whatever it is. Once I get into it, if I don’t see myself progressing (of course somewhat reasonably, relative to the amount of time/work I put in), I become frustrated and the activity or discipline becomes less intriguing and fun.
The first couple instances of this I can remember are gymnastics, dance, and art. When I was younger, I was super into drawing. I wasn’t particularly talented; I was just a little kid who liked to make arts and crafts. I begged my mom to sign me up for art classes at a real art studio, even though I wasn’t very good. I went to a couple, and saw the amazing art the people around me (some only a few years older than me) were creating. I was intimidated, and quickly lost interest.
I then joined gymnastics, as my parents encouraged me to join a sport/something active. I actually stuck with it for about four years; my parents could already see my struggle with perfectionism, so they signed me up at a recreational gym that was pretty much classes-only so there wouldn’t be any pressure for me to get better and/or compete. It was super fun, but once I got a little older and realized I had just been in the kiddie-classes and not actually learning any gymnastics, I asked my mom if I could switch gyms. I tried going to the local competitive gym (still for classes only) and ended up hating it since they paid no attention to anyone besides the girls on the competition teams. I switched to another recreational gym that had classes geared towards slightly older girls, and took there for a while. It was fun, but I outgrew it by the end of that year. My gymnastics “career” was over.
Around the time I was phasing out of gymnastics, I went through another phase lots of young girls go through: the dance phase. My mom signed me up for classes at a competitive studio, and it was a similar thing to the competitive gym I had gone to- all the classes were a joke unless you were on the company team. Lots of my friends were also dabbling in dance classes at the time, so I signed up with a friend to go to a year-long class at a different studio. I honestly wasn’t the biggest fan of it, but I definitely learned a lot more than I had at the other studio. My friend and I went to the summer camp there together, and we finished out the year-long class by performing at the recital. I knew I wasn’t very good and had pretty much gotten all the dance experience I needed to, so my dance “career” had now ended as well.
I kind of feel similar with cheer at the moment- I’ve mentioned in a lot of my posts that I’m a high school cheerleader planning on dropping the sport next year. I just feel like I’ve progressed as much as I’m going to within the activity and I’m ready to allocate my time to something new. It takes up a ton of time, and I don’t enjoy it anymore, so why do it? I feel guilty that I’ve started and stopped so many different activities over the course of my life, but I don’t see a better way to do things. I’m not a super flakey person; I’ve consistently worked hard in advanced classes in school and I’ve never lost motivation with that. I’ve been writing for a while… but that’s kind of it. Everything else that I do I’ve started within the past year or two.
In some ways I’m thankful that my parents never pushed me to stick with something because I wouldn’t have wanted to spend so much time doing something I didn’t truly like, but sometimes I wish they had nudged me in a certain direction. I’m aware that it takes time to cultivate true talent and become better at a specific skill, but now that I’m almost halfway through high school I don’t have much time to spend on any one thing. I struggle a lot with knowing that I don’t have a stand-out talent or skill; I don’t have a ‘thing.’
A lot of this is closely connected to my perfectionism; if I wasn’t such a perfectionist, I wouldn’t care that I don’t have a ‘thing.’ Obviously I try not to get down on myself too much about it because that wouldn’t be productive, but my perfectionism is a big part of my personality and motivation, so the feelings are still there. The main affirmation that lifts my spirits is knowing that there’s still so much of my life ahead of me, so it’s almost better that I haven’t confined myself to one discipline yet. I can only hope I’ll find it in the near future (and so will you!).