My Relationship With Perfectionism

"The Mind Is Everything. What You Think You Become." Buddha
March 31, 2023

The psychological thriller Whiplash is one of my favourite films; at first glance, it has everything I could want, with my celebrity crush Miles Teller playing a passionate jazz drummer. I have a soft spot for musicians. Whilst I still appreciate the close-up shots of his concentration face and him sweating all over his drum kit, the film has taught me a valuable lesson about perfectionism. 

Teller's character Andrew Neiman loses himself in trying to be the next Charlie Parker. I am not a musician, but I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with Louis Theroux. I would give anything to spend a weird weekend with him. I envy Amelia Dimoldenberg for being able to eat chicken nuggets with the unlikely sex symbol. I would have to be careful not to “dribble, dribble” in front of the bespectacled documentary maker.

When people find out I am chasing a journalism degree, they assume my money will "jiggle jiggle". Even so, I can relate to Neiman's drive and desire to be the best at his craft. He puts blood, sweat and tears into his pursuit of perfection.

Actual Drumming Perfection

I have shed many tears as a university student when the loan is running out and so is my motivation. My knees have bled from falling after consuming way too much white wine. I use it to drown my sorrows when I am one mark off a first in an assignment. The sweat comes from running to my lectures when I have overslept. I get whiplash from my morning commute when my eyes get heavy, and the train rudely jolts me awake.

Neiman’s relationships suffer because his attention is solely on drumming. It was a wake call for me as I have often been told I am not defined by my grades. Yet, the possibility of failure has plagued me for a long time and I was close to losing my love for writing. I was struggling to meet the unrealistic expectations I had laid out for myself. Unlike Neiman, I am lucky that no lecturer has thrown a chair at my head to make me work harder – I am sure they have wanted to.

My goal now is to have fun with my degree and to dive into the weird fringes of society. I love Louis Theroux because of his nerdy awkwardness. I hope to have a career as wacky as his. Like louis, I  want to encounter cult members, swingers, a woman who believes she is Jesus and a reverend who channels an extra-terrestrial called Korton. I have met some interesting people at university, but none have claimed to be a human host for an alien or the Second Coming. Then again, a lot can happen after graduation so I will check in with you in a few years.

As cliché as it sounds, no one is perfect, not even Louis Theroux (although he is as close as it gets). I might forget journalism completely and train to be an astronaut so that I can go to space and see if aliens like Korton really exist.