Artwork by Yilin Zhu

Artwork: Yilin Zhu


I’m a perfectionist. There’s really no point of trying to cover it up because over the years, it has progressed to be such a dire problem that everyone knows about it.

Wherever I go, there are always those few, chatty flibbertigibbets that secretly speculate on how much effort I must be putting into everything. I feel their furtive glances and hear their scrutinizing thoughts. “What a try hard,” they’d remark snidely, as I walk past them.

And they’re right. I’m chained to the smallest problems, and I spend hours upon hours fretting over trivial details. I have an indestructible need to achieve perfection.

Some say that I’m admirable for trying to shoot for the moon. They tell me that it’s okay if I want to do well in life and that it’s natural to crave the recognition for it. But I see it as a curse. It’s like a stubborn burr on a wool sweater that won’t come off. And it haunts me day and night, churning in my crowded brain with other pieces of useless knowledge.

All of this bothers me without end. Maybe it’s that I can’t live up the standards that are automatically expected with the mention of my name. Or maybe it’s that for once, I just really want to enjoy what I’m doing and not have to worry about the incessant voice in the back of my head telling me to win. But what really irritates me the most are the parts of my life that I can’t control.

Fate, luck, or whatever you want to call it: it’s the cause of my perpetual burdens. How am I able to feel complete when parts of the puzzle are missing? The headache right before the biology test, the loose shoelace during the 400 meter race, the missing paint colour needed to complete a brisk autumn landscape; they star in my worst nightmares. There are just too many factors that could go askew – too many impediments that prevent me from achieving excellence.

These aspects of life that appear day after day, with neither warning nor leniency, only remind me of my flaws – of how my desperate attempts to control my beauteous unicorn are futile in the end. All along, being “perfect” was only another inadequacy.