When a Perfectionist Writes a Book

It’s here! It’s finally here!

It’s been a year since I found out I would be writing a book and having it published, but in many ways, it feels like I’ve been waiting for this day my entire life. I don’t necessarily believe in fate or destiny, but I have always known I would do something meaningful with my life. For thirty-three years I struggled to figure out how exactly I would do that.

When KiCam Projects contacted me in February 2016, I knew I had my answer. It was too perfect to pass up, even if it meant completing a book in roughly four months while still working my full time job. I had never backed down from a challenge before. Why start then?

Now that the official release date is right around the corner, I find my confidence wavering. This is nothing new. I often doubt myself and my abilities because I put too much pressure on myself to be perfect. I always have. Second place in gymnastics wasn’t winning; a B+ on a report card might as well have been a D; and making a mistake at work, even an insignificant one, made me feel like I had no clue how to do my job.

I set these ridiculously high standards for myself. I am my own worst critic.

If you want to know what’s truly going on in my head at the moment, it’s not oh wow, I wrote a book! It’s more like did I make the right decisions? Did I tell my story the way it should have been told? Were my thoughts too scatterbrained? Is it awful? What if it IS awful? It was my one chance to tell the story about my life. I’m constantly second guessing the choices I made, even when I know I shouldn’t.

My worst fear is that people will read this book and think it’s a poorly written, inconsequential story. (For the record, it’s not.) The more I think like that the more my heart starts to pound faster. My breathing turns more laborious with each intake of breath growing shorter and quicker. A lump forms in my throat and my stomach feels sick. I’m totally petrified of not being perfect in this endeavor.

I’ve always used my skills – my athleticism, good grades, and even work ethic – to show that my imperfections are merely visible. I have needed to succeed in everything I’ve ever done to prove a point. It’s part of my mindset, part of my very existence. It’s why I work so diligently at everything I do. Just “OK” is failing, and I can’t fail. Being perfect is a requirement I force upon myself. Because of that I always question whether or not I’m living up to my own high standards.

I know I’m not the only perfectionist on the planet, but I also realize that my need to achieve does correlate back to my syndrome. I’ve always wanted to be remembered for what I’ve accomplished and not my appearance. As rare as it might be, I’ve actually achieved perfection in something (my perfect ten in gymnastics) and people remember me for that. I’ve tasted both success and failure enough times to realize that I’d rather succeed. But I’m also aware that my failures make me work harder to earn the results I want in the future.

Still, I do not want to fail on this particular journey. I want my book to be received well so that I might have an impact on others. I have so much I want to accomplish still and this book could be a beautiful catalyst toward those goals. So especially now, failure is not an option.

Despite my trepidation about my first book, I’m looking forward to the official launch event being held at American Twisters Gymnastics in Coconut Creek, Florida. When thinking of where I wanted to celebrate this major achievement, I could think of no better place than the gym that built me. I firmly believe that everything I learned in gymnastics, in particular at American Twisters, gave me the best foundation possible to reach my goals. While my parents always led me to believe that my syndrome didn’t restrict my abilities to succeed, it was my involvement with gymnastics that allowed me to believe them. In fact, everything I learned at American Twisters allowed me to successfully write Diary of a Beautiful Disaster.

Maybe this book won’t change anything. Maybe I’ll still struggle to find my place in the world, and maybe I’ll still wish I were spending my days making a greater impact on people’s lives. But maybe, just maybe, the book will lead me on an adventure beyond where my wildest imaginings have ever taken me. I don’t know.

What I do know is that when my mom finally held me in her arms after I was born, she felt the weight of her uncertainties lift away. The troubles that plagued her about my condition vanished. The room became misty and almost surreal. I looked her in the eyes and patted her grown up hand with my infant fingers as if to reassure her that everything would work itself out. My life would be more than alright. I was put on this earth for a reason. I would be somebody someday.

This book is only the beginning of my journey. I can feel it in my heart and soul.

Stay tuned to see what else is in store.

And of course, thank you for letting me share my story with you.