Good, perfect, holy, sweet, innocent, beautiful, kind, pure – there are so many words that described who I wanted to be ever since childhood. These were goals to achieve, standards impossible to meet, reminders to keep my behavior appropriate, and chains that constricted my life.
If I could sum up my life purpose, it would probably be this sentence: “Just be good.” That is how I lived for years, yearning to be better but always falling short.
Others noticed this drive and complimented me. “You are such an angel, saint, perfect person,” my kind friends and encouraging adults would praise. However, the truth about how others saw me was heard in the sneers and confusion of most peers. “Do you live in a cave? Are you serious right now? You should be a nun! Have you seriously never done that? How old are you?”
The harder that I tried to be good and perfect, the more I felt the weight of my flaws. When others complimented me, this guilt haunted me even more. Now I was a fake and a liar as well as a bad girl. However, when no one noticed my striving to be kind and sweet all of the time, I felt drained and worthless. Nothing could bring real joy because I hated the essence of who I was. As long as I was not good, I was terrible, disgusting, and hateful. This contributed to self-harm, restriction, over-eating, deep depression, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety. Traumatic events also began tormenting me and served as reminders of how I failed to be perfect.
With aspergers, it is difficult to not think about things as black or white. Either I am sick or healthy, happy or sad, alone or surrounded by people, good or bad. Realizing that things are on a scale instead of completely one way or the other is a challenge.
Yet that is how people are. No one is fully evil or perfect. We can choose to do terrible things or wonderful actions more of the time, but we all make mistakes and beautiful creations. We fail and we succeed.
Striving to be the best person possible physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally is a very wise thing. However, forcing yourself to be “good” often leads to perfectionism and hopelessness. I am good enough with my faith and in who I am. Yes, I need to make wise decisions, but that does not mean I should force myself to be a perfect, innocent baby. Being human means we are beautiful disasters and bewildering successes. That is what I want to focus on being.