Pickle startled me awake at 7am. Rather than going back to sleep, I did a nose-dive into my phone. 59 views. 13 subscribers. 2 comments.
Yesterday I “launched” our YouTube channel. And by launched, I mean that I finally got up the nerve to record a five minute video and post it to the channel I’d known that I needed to make at least four years ago.
Rather than waiting for a perfectly plotted strategy, I decided this was as good a time as any to embrace the imperfect - this elusive idea that I’ve been rolling around in my head since the beginning of 2020, when that year still felt like something full of futuristic promise, moments before we all hit a huge, global speed bump.
I knew that if I waited for the right time to start YouTube then I would never do it. I hadn’t done it yet. And any of the excuses I’d made throughout the years wouldn’t stand up to even the smallest amount of scrutiny as credible reasons for why not.
So, I harnessed the momentum of our exploratory, temporary move to Las Vegas to just do the damn thing. I recorded a short video on Thursday afternoon. No editing. No big build up. No launch plan. And I set it to go live at 8am Friday morning.
Now, here’s where my mind does funny things. On an analytical level, I know that I’ve done nothing to give this video or channel wings, aside from posting a couple of stories to Instagram and Facebook - at the historically worst times to post content, no less. So, all in all, I’ve done NOTHING to nudge this video into the public’s consciousness.
AND YET, when I’m groggy and exhausted and very much capable of going back to dreamland, I grab my phone. Not to scroll through my feed or to see if I have new messages. To check my video stats.
This is where things get really embarrassing. There is a part of me (larger than I would like to admit), that is hoping to open my page to discover that I’d become a runaway success. FROM A FIVE MINUTE VIDEO OF ME SITTING IN MY OFFICE AND TELLING A BUNCH OF STRANGERS “HELLO, HERE’S MY CHANNEL.”
Who do I think I am? Why does my brain indulge itself in believing that I could, in fact, be at the center of the solar system?
At this point I should accept defeat, recognize that this will not be a story of overnight fame, and go back to bed. Nope. Glutton for punishment and self delusion right here. I proceed to check every possible place for updates of any kind, frequently returning to my page to see if the numbers have risen.
Oh wow! 60 views and 14 subscribers. I’ve made it.
I don’t even aspire to internet fame. So why am I acting like some update-crazed, out-of-touch-with-reality automaton?
It’s this perfection thing. This stupid compulsion to be perfect that makes me think that even if I post an imperfect video that I will have done it perfectly. My ascent would be instant, effortless, like the video version of the ideal woman who looks impeccable without showing the world all of the time and work that went into creating that image.
Being perfect isn’t enough. My version of perfectionism comes with the symptoms of needing to be perfect, while making it all look easy. It should tell the world: I didn’t want it that badly. I didn’t try hard. It all just comes naturally.
Hustle culture is a real thing. Showing people how long you grind, how little you sleep, and how hard you go at the gym are great ways of getting attention and public approval. For some.
Whether it’s because I’m a woman or just because I’m me, that part of the equation feels like a failure. It’s why I have zero patience when I don’t immediately know the answer to a problem. Why I’ll drag my feet before doing something I’ve never done because I don’t want to look stupid.
I tell myself that everyone starts at the same place. If you want it, you can work at it.
What I’m realizing needs work isn’t my channel, it’s me. I need to confront the myth of my own perfection. The one that I’ve tried to maintain despite a million reasons why it’s worth destroying.
I’m tired of trying to be perfect. So here I am, making a public declaration to commit to my own imperfecting. Come join me. Whether as an observer who can take some relief in knowing that your kind of crazy fortunately isn’t like mine, or as someone else who has also struggled long and hard with this idea of perfection, and has had enough.