In the middle of a particularly stressful week, I was lucky to come upon this lovely poem, “Uns, com os olhos postos no passado”/“With one eye on the past” by Ricardo Reis at a time when I needed it.
I have struggled my whole life with perfectionism, and I hate to admit grad school has summoned the perfectionist in me. The worst part about wanting everything you do and produce to be perfect is that it never really is, and it’s easy to neglect other important parts of life. It’s a cycle that leaves no time for repair or reflection, no time for rest, and all that mental spinning does is breed a feeling of inadequacy.
This insecurity has challenged how I feel in all of the roles I have. It’s made me feel below my own self-imposed line.
Yet, in the middle of it all, this poem helped me erase that line. Or at lease make it fade away a bit. I felt myself be present, more still, rather than swimming upward. Alone in the quiet of a late night, I could look at how I felt and accept it for what it was. The pressure of changing it by being a better, more self-aware future version of myself lifted, at least for the moment when I needed to feel lighter.