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Jameela's July 2014 Column: "Who wants to be perfect anyway?"

Jameela's October 2013 Column: “Help! I’m holidaying with my new man!”

 

I have been a perfectionist my whole life. From the moment I could walk, I started a long road in pursuit of being impeccable. I tried for perfect grades, perfect reports, perfect behaviour, perfect BMI, perfect everything. And it all lead perfectly to a perfect nervous breakdown last year. From a young age, somewhere along the line, someone made me think it was my responsibility to make them happy, with an absence of any flaws. My successes cloaked their failures. It began a life dedicated to making others happy.

It felt as if I was constantly on the verge of a panic attack. To me, everything had a serious consequence. I had no perspective. I literally couldn’t be happy unless I had pleased and impressed everyone. I was bloody KNACKERED.

Then 2013 came and brought with it a huge side order of cock-up. My body lost its capacity to cope with the pressure of constantly meeting the demands and needs of others, and it shut down on me. For six months. I got very sick and I went on medication, which made me gain a LOT of weight. My thyroid had slipped into some sort of coma, my self-esteem had gone on the run and I hit the fridge. Hard.

Suddenly changing shape from a rectangle to a perfect circle doesn’t tend to make you feel amazing. But then the magazines decided to highlight my change in weight to the general public too. I was singled out by thousands of people on Twitter and on the street, and bullied for gaining weight on medication. As if I had let people down or lied to them!

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After the 1000th ‘You ate all the pies’ comment, I suddenly became furious. Firstly, I will NOT take responsibility for eating all the pies – I will admit to making a dent in the pie industry, but I did not eat them all. Secondly, piss off. It’s nobody’s business. So what? I’d gained some padding. So what, my clothes weren’t perfect? My work wasn’t perfect. My life wasn’t perfect. Who was it really hurting? Why do we run on a hamster wheel fuelled by the happiness of others?

Weirdly, it was all so much, and so ridiculous, it pushed me the other way. Now I don’t give a damn. I have realised it’s not my responsibility to make people happy. Only miserable people put that kind of pressure on others. I’m free. I welcome life’s trials and failures – they’re so much better to learn from. And they make far more entertaining stories down the pub.

Perfectionism is lonely and isolating, because it’s dishonest and intimidating. A never-ending treadmill of self-loathing. I’m tired of lying and crying and satisfying. Ed Sheeran said, ‘I can’t tell you the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.’ And, let’s face it, he’s doing alright, isn’t he?

READ ALL OF JAMEELA'S COLUMNS HERE!

@jameelajamil

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