uncharted musings

You Are Not A Perfectionist

In a horde of students and peers alike constantly claiming their ‘perfectionist’ tendencies to be the root of their untimely stress and anxiety regarding work, it’s often hard to understand where you lie. The ‘perfectionist’ charcteristic has long been developing, and what once was a psychogical derivative of a disorder has now become an “attractive flaw” phenomenon. How many times have you heard, especially if you studied or worked at a high-ranked, high-pressured university or workplace, someone claiming that they were stressed about a certain work of theirs because of, or that their biggest flaw is, perfectionism? Too many to count, I assume.

But if everyone was a perfectionist, surely no one would be?

I think the issue lies within one common problem — misconception. Let’s get this straight, perfectionism is not an “attractive flaw”. Gone need to be the days when every second person uses it as their “worst quality” in an effort to mask all the ones they so clearly are ignorant of. Perfectionism does not simply encompass always striving to be one’s best. If that’s what it meant, surely people would simply say “Oh, I’m always striving to be the best!”. (Try saying that at a job interview when asked what your flaws are). Whilst that is a big component of being a perfectionist, it comes with a whole lot of baggage and is applicable to the being as a whole. It’s a lot like OCD, as my friend shrewdly observed of the overuse of characterising onseself as a perfectionist. Both perfectionism and OCD have been attributed with a somewhat positive connotation, where the former now translates as ‘one who works hard enough till results are perfect’ and the latter being an attribute for cleanliness, tidiness, and being organised.

Yes, getting frustrated or uncomfortable with a painting hanging askew or a desk being cluttered are certainly aspects of OCD, but I’m sure not possessing such afflictions is rarer than having them. Who, really, doesn’t get bothered by an uneven, askew painting hanging on the wall? But even eliminating that point, simply having that one affliction does not classify you as an obsessive compulsive person. Ask someone with actual OCD how life is for them. A problem that affects all areas of their life, where their obsessive compulsive tendencies are apparent in every aspect, however mild or severe.

Perfectionism is the same. It encompasses insecurity, and a lack of self-esteem and confidence. You always strive for the best, for achieving your ideal standard, for making things “perfect”, but what does this stem from? From a sense of insecurity, from never feeling good enough, not having enough confidence in your own abilities. This is what it means to be a perfectionist. When people with such tendencies constantly worry about not being good enough, they often have a crippling fear of failure. This fear is so intense, it leads to an attribute that one would never associate with the colloquial “perfectionism” — procrastination. More often than not, a perfectionist is so anxious about producing their best work, they are unable to get started. Can’t fail if you don’t try, right? This procrastination is, of course, accompanied by incessant guilt — you are anxious about making something perfect, but in turn end up doing nothing, which in turn generates a sense of inadequacy and self-loathing: the very breeding ground for depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

A perfectionist feels this incessant need for achieving this ‘ideal standard’ in every aspect of their life. They not only need their professional work to be ‘perfect’, but also need others to see them a certain way. They need validation, a sense of approval from others, and in a way, their own self becomes the “other” for how critically they view themselves. Of course the degrees and aspects in which they feel so vary, but more often than not this perfectionism jumps from work to emotional endurance to physical appearance to strength to creativity to a number of other attributes. Essentially, as soon as validation comes towards one aspect, in whichever form, it is soon replaced by feeling inadequate or not quite good enough in another.

So, truly, perfectionism is a coined term for a constant, rampant feeling of insecurity and lack of self-belief and confidence. It is often symptomatic of procrastination, and a critical nature as a defence mechanism. Anyone that uses “perfectionism” as a reason for their stress or as a classic example of their supposed “flaws”, let them remember that they are essentially being ignorant of a more important, real problem underlying their stress; perhaps this is self-doubt, a fear of their potential, or lack of confidence in their abilities. Perhaps it is all of the things that do encompass a perfectionist. But maybe it’s time we stop using this term that has come to hold an overlying positive connotation. Even if you suffix it with “it’s really not a good quality, I’m never happy with the result so I’m always trying to do better”, it will always come off as a roundabout way of saying you’re just hardworking and are always trying to reach the best possible outcome, to both the listener but more importantly, to yourself. Maybe if we stop using this sugar-coated word, and start realising and actualising the flaws that underlie this term, we will begin to improve and overcome the problems that truly matter. We might work towards gaining more confidence in our abilities or realising our true potential, instead of simply accepting “oh, I’m just a perfectionist.”

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“Somewhere an echo sounds,
Reminiscent of the magic
Beneath a veiled sun;
The untamed splendour of emeralds
Susurrating and singing;
Even the raven accompanies a nightingale
At the crack of dawn,
As she walks his path blindly.

Somewhere an echo sounds,
Laden with certitude;
And the heart of scripts
Reverberating through streams of blue.
Never quiet— not once;
The black swims along with white
At the lull of twilight,
Her senses null against his acuity.

Somewhere an echo sounds,
Now dark and deep;
The tide come swallowing
All that is sacred.
What remains now
Are sacrilege drops,
Fallen from the raven,
In the wake of the nightingale.

Somewhere an echo sounds,
With the ferocity of a whisper,
Why does it accompany
Deafening roars?
She speaks empty verses,
Etched on the once great pine;
The raven lain upon the velvet ground,
The nightingale a mist in the pearl grey mine.

There sounds now,
A perpetual serein.
She breathes in the pearls
Of intentions sweet—
But chokes and crumbles,
A pumping heart without beat.
Cruelly silent, the rain keeps falling;
And she drowns— effortlessly.”

— Bhumika Gupta, A Walk At Dawn

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“The heart dies a slow death, shedding each hope like leaves until one day there are none. No hopes. Nothing remains.”

― Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

(photograph by Farrah Aviva)

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“And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

(photowork by Zdjecia Nodame)

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“And each scar
has the shape of your mouth.”

— Pablo Neruda, The Earth

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“I talked a good hello
but she talked an even
better good-bye.”

— Richard Brautigan, Impasse

(film: Ashes of Time (1994) by Wong Kar-wai)

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“Silence, I discover, is something you can actually hear.”

— Haruki Murakami, Kafka On The Shore

(artwork by Sandis Helvigs)

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“Out beyond ideas
of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.”

— Jelaluddin Rumi, 13th century

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“In order to move on, you must understand why you felt what you did and why you no longer need to feel it.”

—Mitch Albom

(photograph by Robin Isly)

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“Beyond the edge of the world there’s a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap, where past and future form a continuous, endless loop. And, hovering about, there are signs no one has ever read, chords no one has ever heard.”

— Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

(artwork by Liliana Porter)

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“Have you ever been in love? Horrible, isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable… It means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.”

— Neil Gaiman, The Sandman

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“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart…”

— F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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“It is only once in a while that you see someone whose electricity and presence matches yours at that moment.”

— Charles Bukowski

(Photograph by kodiakstag, 2016)

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“People who have monsters recognize each other. They know each other without even saying a word.”

— Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Last Night I Sang To The Monster

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“In case you ever foolishly forget; I’m never not thinking of you.”

— Virginia Woolf, Selected Diaries

(Photograph by Allan Grant, June 1946)

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“Some people hide their sadness very well.”

—Khaled Hosseini, And The Mountains Echoed

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“Stop insisting on clearing your head,
clear your fucking heart instead.”

— Charles Bukowski, Selected Letters Vol. 4

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“People say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
Truth is, you knew what you had,
you just never thought you’d lose it.”

(Photograph by Brandon Kidwell)

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“Every profound thinker is more afraid of being understood than of being misunderstood.”

— Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

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I am not a musician. I know nothing of notes, and sharps, nothing about tones, and dynamics. And sometimes I panic, almost every time to be honest. But although the melodies of our hearts never meet and they rarely strike at the same beat, the sound it makes when we’re together feels like a symphony to me.

— Arence Gabriel Gecale

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J’entends ta voix dans tous les bruits du monde.
“I hear your voice in all the world’s noises.”

— Paul Éluard

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“I think the weirdest thing is having left-over information about someone. Like I still know someone’s favorite girl name, or their favorite season, or someone’s address. I remember someone’s favorite ice cream flavors, someone’s favorite childhood book, and the mental disorder their uncle has. I remember the ages and birthdays of their siblings. I remember the song they said they’d sing to their spouse. Where do I put this down? Where do I learn to forget?”


(oil painting by Gottfried Helnwein)

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“He is exactly
the poem
I wanted to write.”

— Mary Oliver

(oil painting by Ivan Alifan)

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“People leave you out in the cold and then get mad when you learn how to get warm by yourself.”

— intergalartic

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“Somewhere there are Minke whales singing hymns in my belly,
Lonely cries beneath my star lined ribs.
Somewhere there is sea foam and driftwood lapping against my skin,
Drowning me in Vetiver notes and Pearlescent chords.

Somewhere the wind cracks and cries through my hollow frame.
The rains come and the tides swell and my throat is all sand and gravel
And your name stuck against my tongue, beating against the backs of my teeth.

Somewhere a whistle cries and the lighthouse fades
And I am floating in the ink bled sky.
Somewhere my last breath is leaving my body and I—
I don’t feel a thing.”

— intergalartic

(artwork by witchoria)

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“I am hopelessly in love with a memory; an echo from another time, another place.”

— Michael Faudet

(photograph by Aleia Murawski)

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On why I watch and read stuff over—

“It’s simple, really. It’s like, when you’re watching a movie, or reading a book, you’re looking forward, seeing where it’s going to go next. I’m looking around, taking everything in. The important part is not eagerly anticipating the final destination, but exploring the journey there. So, while what’s going to happen next is certainly intriguing to a high degree, why and how it’s happening is what is utterly captivating, what defines the reason and purpose of what’s about to happen. And I believe that varies with each read; it finds a way to enlighten you in new ways each time. Besides, I like knowing how things are going to turn out, whether they end in bliss or sorrow. I know you’ll say it’s pointless to look forward to something you already know is going to turn out a certain way. But, the point is, that knowledge doesn’t dull the way that sequence of events is going to make you feel, regardless of how many times you relive it. That’s the magic of it.”

— intergalartic

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To her—

“When I talk to you, or look at you, its like everyone else disappears. When you’re around I just can’t seem to focus. It’s like you’re all that exists. And then I remember that the way I see you isn’t the way you see me, and it sucks a bit. It’s not that I didn’t know that from before, it just hits a bit harder each time I see your face, or hear your voice, or simply, think of you. Your existence makes me tremble with both pleasure and sorrow.”

— intergalartic // Letters Edition 

(photograph by Jennifer Stenglein)

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“Admit it. You aren’t like them. Not even close.
You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider. Watching the ‘normal people’ as they go about their automatic existences.
For every time you say club passwords like ‘Have a nice day’ and “Weather’s awful today, eh?’, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like ‘Tell me something that makes you cry’ or ‘What do you think déjà vu is for?‘”

—Timothy Leary

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“Constantly torn between ‘if it’s meant to be, it will be’ and ‘if you want it, go get it‘.”

— intergalartic

(artwork by Bhumika Gupta)

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“Everything was beautiful
and nothing hurt.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

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“The thought of you is ever present. Somedays it is faint and small, like a whisper in the dark, and others, unbearable, like nails screeching down a chalkboard. But whatever the case, you are always on my mind, every day, every hour, every minute.”

— Beau Taplin

(photograph: Steven Meisel)

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“You were unsure which pain is worse: the shock of what happened or the ache for what never will.”

—Simon Van Booy

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Alice: How long is forever?
White Rabbit: Sometimes, just one second.

— Lewis Carroll

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“If darkness is really not darkness at all, but rather, the absence of light. Then my flaws are really not flaws at all, but rather, the absence of you.”

— Christopher Poindexter

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Perfer et ebdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim –
“Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you.”

— Cecilia Ahern, Thanks For The Memories

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“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”

—Franklin D. Roosevelt

(artwork: Katsushika Hokusai)

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“And everyday, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling ‘This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!’

And each day, it’s up to you, to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say ‘No. This is what’s important.'”

Iain Thomas, Iwrotethisforyou

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“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

— Friedrich Nietzsche

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“And then all of a sudden, she changed. She came back a completely different person, with a new mindset, a new outlook, a new soul. The girl that once cared way too much, about everyone and everything, no longer cared at all.”

— intergalartic

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You know this feeling. Clock hands spinning, digital reds blinking. The representation of time does not matter, only that it’s dwindling, seconds slipping faster than you can count sheep clearing fences & fading into oblivion – the place you’d rather be. You keep wondering what you could have said, should have done, differently. Mind racing, thoughts a maddening rush of missed punctuation & comma splices, but there’s no grammatically correct way to go crazy, is there? You, your limbs, tangled up in sheets, in an oversized bed that suddenly seems much too big for your solitary body, feeling more alone than you’ve ever been, knowing that morning light is going to hit you hard as whiskey, wondering if tomorrow will bring closure. It won’t. Closure is something you give yourself. It doesn’t come in the form of excuses or apologies that are just as empty as the person who failed you. Stop wondering, stop your wild thoughts. Stop feeling alone when you’re not. Because these cruel hours are no stranger to me. You see, I’m up too.

— intergalartic

(photograph: Mona Kuhn)

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“I ignored your aura,
but it grabbed me by the hand
like the moon pulled the tide
and the tide pulled the sand.”

— Talib Kweli

(artwork by Frank Horvat)

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“Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere. And sometimes in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.”

— intergalartic

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“No matter what, once in your life, someone will hurt you. That someone will take all that you are and rip it to pieces and they won’t even watch where the pieces land. But through the breakdown, you’ll learn something about yourself. You’ll learn that you’re strong and no matter how hard they destroy you, that you can conquer anyone.”

— intergalartic

(photograph: Louie Aguila)

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“He’s more myself than I am; whatever our souls are made of, his mine are the same.”

—Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

(oil painting by: Ivan Alifan)

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“For you, a thousand times over.”

— Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

(artwork: Yung Cheng Lin)

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“I hope you look for me in everyone you meet.” — Because I Look For You


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“Let me be crystal clear: if you’ve faced a tragedy and someone tells you in any way, shape or form that your tragedy was meant to be, that it happened for a reason, that it will make you a better person, or that taking responsibility for it will fix it, you have every right to remove them from your life.

Grief is brutally painful. Grief does not only occur when someone dies. When relationships fall apart, you grieve. When opportunities are shattered, you grieve. When dreams die, you grieve. When illnesses wreck you, you grieve.

So I’m going to repeat a few words I’ve uttered countless times; words so powerful and honest they tear at the hubris of every jackass who participates in the debasing of the grieving:

Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.”

So if anyone tells you some form of get over it, move on, or rise above, you can let them go.

If anyone avoids you amidst loss, or pretends like it didn’t happen, or disappears from your life, you can let them go.

If anyone tells you that all is not lost, that it happened for a reason, that you’ll become better as a result of your grief, you can let them go.

Let me reiterate: all of those platitudes are bullshit.”

— Tim Lawrence, Everything Doesn’t Happen For A Reason

Dear Kids, When I fail…

What every kid needs to hear from their parent every now and then.
Lovely post!


Dear kids,

Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I see that you’ve grown over night. Your face is more defined, your eyes look older. A part of me is excited and in awe; I know you have so much ahead of you. Another part is scared because time is racing and I can’t slow it down. I’m afraid that I haven’t always been awake and noticing, and that somehow I have slept through the magic of your growing. I wonder, have I enjoyed you enough? Have I given you what you needed? Is your heart still whole? Is your spirit unbroken?

I’m not always good at this. I’m not always as good as I want to be at being your mom. I want to be great; and sometimes I am, but sometimes I’m not.

Sometimes I get it, and sometimes I don’t.

Sometimes I do it right, and sometimes I completely miss it.


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One thing left on your body I can undress…



“You never apologized for hurting me, but I apologized to you twelve times for being angry about it.”

— intergalartic

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