I’ve thought long and hard about what the first entry I write into this blog should be. It is the first one after all, I didn’t want to half-ass it, it has to perfectly encapsulate who I am as a person and an artist and what I’m trying to do.
I think I thought about it for four and a half years.
Hi, my name is Kristopher and I am a perfectionist.
It’s taken me a long time to come to that admission. Mostly because I was in denial of it being a part of who I am. After all, perfectionism holds such a negative connotation, at least in my mind, and as such I don’t want to admit that I have that ‘disease’ because that would make me… imperfect. I preferred to believe that I didn’t have perfectionism, but rather I am just perfect.
But I am imperfect. I am flawed – and a perfectionist.
It turns out however, that this is not such a horrible paradox – once I have admitted both of those things are true.
The strive for perfection, in and of itself, is not such a bad thing. Working tirelessly to be the best that I can be is a good thing. I have benefited greatly from my will to be the best. I have overcome challenges and reached levels of success because of it. Created some good art because of it. But it’s a bad thing when my expectations of who I am, or what I’m capable of are at a level of perfection beyond which I am currently capable of.
All artists reach a point when their taste for good art becomes greater than their talent to achieve it. And that is what happened to me. My desire to be acting at a skill level which matches my taste for great acting was bigger than the amount of hours I have put in to reasonably achieve becoming a great actor. (Equally true for becoming the human being I want to be). So I stopped wanting to share who I am as a person, and I stopped wanting to share who I am as an actor, because I am nowhere near where I wish I was. This is being a bad perfectionist.
Being great at something doesn’t require talent, or perfection, it require work… and work takes time.
I resisted starting this blog initially because I didn’t want to admit that I struggle with this art of acting, I wanted to maintain some kind of illusion that I was born a perfect actor (and bloggist for that matter) and that I don’t require working at it. Losers struggle and work at it, successful actors like me are just perfect already. This is bullshit, and self-destructive.
My bad perfectionism often has me holding back the artist I currently am. Waiting instead to share myself with the world if/when I become the artist I wish to be. Ironically, this means that I haven’t been doing the work required to become the artist I wish to be.
I have to be making imperfect and flawed art, and I have to be doing it all the time. It is in making flawed art that I learn what changes need to be made to my art or my process the next time. This is the work. The work is not to be perfect, but to be flawed. When the art I share is flawed, is it only then when I can see -or my teachers can see- what different choices there are to be made.
The paradox of perfectionism.
In order to achieve any sort of greatness or vision of perfection, I must constantly allow myself to be the imperfect and flawed person and artist that I am.
I didn’t choose to be a perfectionist. It likely comes from a deep seeded fear of not being enough, and needing the validation of achieving some sort of image of greatness to feel good inside. Or maybe it’s an arrogance or entitlement that I deserve to be the best. Whatever it is, it is currently a force within me whether I want it to be there or not. But I don’t have to let it ruin my life or my art. I have the power to control it, to guide it to my advantage, as long as I am conscious of it.
I must admit that I have a drive in me to be the absolute best, and I must balance that with the humility and understanding that I will never achieve that. There will always be someone who will do it better than me. It is not an excuse not to make art. I can only ever hope to be the best that I can be. And that is enough.
Anyone who has ever achieved the mythical and temporary status of being ‘the best’, has only ever achieved it because they have worked harder than anyone else on the planet, and not because they were the most perfect to begin with.
It is far more important to just try something, to make something, and do it the best I am capable of doing it right now, than it is to only share my art when I think it’s going to be the best piece of art that ever was made.
So I pledge to you, my fellow blog readers, that I will share the imperfect man and artist that I am. The successes and failures of being in the middle muck that is journeying towards any form of mastery.
Please feel free to share with me your journey, and your thoughts.