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Prison of Perfection

by InJung15


A word that should not exist. A word that has haunted many people, including me. A word that should be sentenced to lifelong imprisonment. Unlike Depression, Perfection is hidden in plain sight. We think it's something that we can achieve but in reality, it is killing our identity and who we are as humans. It’s ironic because we as humans are literally designed to make mistakes and have flaws and yet we still aim for perfection? Even Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, “What is the point of being on this Earth if you are going to be like everyone else and avoid trouble?”. Perfection is a parasite, it blinds you from your dreams. It has driven me crazy for years. My parents expected a lot from me, especially being of asian-heritage. It's sad to admit it but they’ve turned me into someone I hate almost everyday.

I don’t blame them, well, I try not to. I try so hard and tell myself everyday, this is unfortunately how they were taught when they were kids and I can’t change that. But what I can change is me. I’m grateful to have been given a wake-up call from life.

Way back at around 8th grade, I was failing math horribly and I hated myself for that. I didn't even tell my parents or show them any tests haha. But as I progressed to the 9th grade, I started getting pretty well at the subject, along with other subjects as well. I remember getting rather intense help from my father for an upcoming test, and sure he was strict but I guess you can say, back then it was worth it. I was checking my results and it turns out I got ninety-six percent, the highest I have ever achieved. Now of course, as anyone would, I was bursting with joy and hope. I was clearly wrong. As time passed, my father pushed me to the limit, demanding that I get a perfect score. I still remember a moment where I got about ninety-seven percent on a test and I blindly gave it happily to my parents and the first thing I heard was … “Why is it not a perfect score?”. I was told … to redo the answers I got wrong and after that, I would just punish myself and start losing hope. 10th grade eventually came by and every single time I received a test score, I was the only kid in the class, unhappy, unsatisfied with a score of around 80-98%. When things got really deep, I remember lying on my bed as I said goodnight to my parents and once everything was dark and quiet, tears would just pour out uncontrollably and my mind just kept on repeating the echoes of my parents, “What a failure … You won’t make it … Why can’t you do anything right? … Are you stupid”. Now as an overthinker, these echoes crowded my mind and even if I tried to fight back, it was just too strong.

When these things happen, I swear to myself every time by saying over and over again these words, “I will never burden my children with these curses, they deserve to live knowing that whatever they accomplish in life, I will always be there to support them”.

I knew of course that this habit was very unhealthy. My mental health went downhill along with everything else. Luckily things took a slight turn, around the end of 10th grade (this year) when my teachers motivated me in the right way, and It really gave me the idea that I don’t have to be scared and that my marks do not define who I am, it’s as easy as that. I may be still having difficulties with self love but nowadays, I do things the right way, the real success. I try my very best in the things I enjoy keeping in mind that I do not need to live up to anyone's expectation, that I can just be free and strive endlessly for success or failure. This year I have done two live piano performances, applied for the highest math class out of pure interest and joy and planned to sign up for my school volleyball team. Perfection and hard work can be easily confused and mistaken for one another. The difference to me is that, one will drive you to success and happiness along the way, and the other will kill you from the inside. Do not be a prisoner to perfection. Whenever you get the slightest doubt, remember that “What makes a forest beautiful, is that there is not a single ‘perfect’ tree within it, likewise what makes us beautiful is that we all have our unique gifts and flaws. I know this piece may have been all over the place, but I hope you gained something out of this. Perfection … should be erased … Thank you.


I'd just like to say thank you all for taking your time to stop by and read this piece, it was finished today at about 10:30pm so it will be pretty off, but oh well. Most importantly, please feel free to share this piece, it is a very pivotal message that I believe everyone should hear. Wish you all a happy holiday and a happy new year. Oh and keep your eyes peeled, there is one more work coming just before New Years! :o

PS: Throughout time there will be the occasional edits to this piece.

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957 Reviews

Points: 114
Reviews: 957

Mon Dec 27, 2021 6:09 pm
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vampricone6783 wrote a review...

Yes,I totally agree with what you just said in this piece,100%.Not only that,but I can relate to it,too.I really want to do things perfectly and make sure that the stuff I write is perfect,with no mistakes.So I get upset with myself when I notice that I make a mistake.I’m trying to work on that,though.Like you said,everyone has flaws.Lovely piece.I hope you have a wonderful and beautiful day and night.

InJung15 says...

Im glad you loved it:) Thank you so much, wish you all the best!

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289 Reviews

Points: 304
Reviews: 289

Sun Dec 26, 2021 4:29 pm
MissGangamash wrote a review...


I'll review as I read then do an overall review.

I'm unsure why 'depression' and 'perfection' have capital letters, as 'perfection' doesn't have a capital letter later on.

'Even Arnold Schwarzenegger once said,' - when 'Even Arnold?' makes it seem like he is someone everyone believes is perfect. I personally have never heard this.

...everyone else and avoid trouble?”. - no need for the full stop.

'I didn't even tell my parents or show them any tests haha.' - the 'haha' kind of pulls the reader out of the piece. It makes it read more like a text message. Because this message is something very important, it would be best to not undercut that importance with casual text-speech.

' I started getting pretty well at the subject,' - 'getting pretty well' doesn't sound right. Maybe either 'doing pretty well' or 'doing better.'

'blindly gave it happily to my parents' - this reads awkwardly

'I was told … to redo the answers I got wrong' - why the ellipses?

' and It really gave me the idea ' - remove the capital letter

Okay, I'm done!

Overall, lovely message and I know it is something that many people growing up have to struggle with. If you are planning on reworking this, I would suggest going deeper into these memories - place the reader in your shoes. Also, what was your turning point? What finally made you think 'actually, I don't have to be perfect. I can just be me'?

Also, I get your point that striving for perfection can be bad, but I believe it's more of the case of what we make 'perfection' out to be. Perfection can mean something different to everyone. The problem is perfection being seen as being the best, but it doesn't have to mean that.

Perhaps ending it with something like 'I struggling to reach what my parents considered 'perfection,' but, along the way, I figured out I am pretty perfect just the way I am.'

Hope this help :D

InJung15 says...

Thank you so much for the tips:)

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20 Reviews

Points: 181
Reviews: 20

Sun Dec 26, 2021 2:28 pm
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InJung15 says...

Please feel free to share this if you believe someone needs to hear it:)

Light griefs are loquacious, but the great are dumb.
— Seneca