Growing up I worked hard to be the perfect daughter. I was not to speak until I was spoken to and I was not allowed to have any opinions.
The only time we (my brother and I) were praised was for getting good test results. Only my results were never good enough. I got B’s and C’s (my dyslexia was undiagnosed.. well to be fair it wasn’t recognised back in the 80’s) whereas my younger brother got straight A’s. He once sulked for a week for getting an A-!!!!
I really tried hard not to disappoint my parents but nothing I did was good enough. Still I tried and tried to win their approval. This leads to a very unhealthy mental situation.
I became a perfectionist. Only nothing was good enough. Not even for me.
I tried to live up to the image my mum created. A happy, confident and chatty girl – my mum was shy and didn’t want me to be. Only problem was I didn’t want to be those things so I faked it rather than be a disappointment.
Invariably I would do something that they didn’t like, and I would be chastised. I may have expressed an opinion. I may have been too chatty. I may have been too loud. Usually some reason would be found that meant I would have disappointed them.
Eventually I learned that no matter what I did I would be punished. Didn’t stop me from trying, and failing.
My first serious boyfriend… became my first husband. He flattered me and I was gullible. I was young and at first he told me how perfect I was. He wrote me poems (I later found out they were written by the florist next to where he worked) and bought me gifts.
It didn’t take long for that to change. He soon started telling me how I was lucky to have him and how no one else would want me. He was the first boy I had sex with, and I say boy because, although he was 2 years older than me he wasn’t a man. He was 19 when we got married, and 20 when he cheated.
I decided this was my fault, because if I had been perfect then he wouldn’t have cheated.
When I met MrH at college I was sassy. S1 was two and a half, and I worked out 3 times a week. I was hot!! Honestly ask MrH…
By the time S2 was on the way MrH and I had been dating for 3 years. We got married and life moved along in the usual way.
MrH worked and I looked after the children. When S2 got to school age I started working. We got a dog and were the picture family, 2 kids and a dog.
Our sex life was ok, I was determined to make to sure that MrH would not stray, so I strived to be adventurous sexually. I tried to be perfect. I tried to keep the house tidy but with the kids and working full time I struggled. I didn’t want to ask MrH to help, instead I got stressed and anxious.
Of course my mum would criticise and tell me how much I failed as a housewife.
I don’t know where I got the image of perfect that I was trying to emulate but it wasn’t real.
Then my dad died and I broke. I couldn’t keep up the act and I didn’t know who I was. Imagine that. I didn’t know who I was. I knew what my mum thought I should be. I knew who I pretended to be.
It took a while to stabilise and discover who I wanted to be, and throughout all that MrH never faltered. He seemed to know who I was when I didn’t. He’s never once said I’m not the woman he met, even when I think that’s the case.
I am not as much of a perfectionist as I used to be. I no longer need to have a perfectly tidy house. It no longer stresses me out when it’s untidy.
MrH wrapped me in his love and he kept my head above water.
He nurtured me and allowed me to learn about myself.
He kept me safe and loved me unconditionally.
Still I held back. Still I waited for him to be disappointed. Still I waited for him to leave.
But he didn’t.
He was steady. He was kind. He was perfect. Perfect for me.
It was two years ago when I finally found the courage to broach adding BDSM to our relationship. MrH agreed and we haven’t looked back- at least I haven’t.
I’ve learned so much about myself, and allowed myself to be well, me.
The me I want to be.
The me that feels calm and comfortable.
The me that is happy.
Dare I say it? The Perfect Me.