Black Swan Theatrical release posterI’m in the middle of watching Natalie Portman in Black Swan, a veritable work of art.  I have always loved Darren Aronofsky, and the way he can capture madness on film.  I am very happy to see him get the accolades and recognition he has gotten with this film.

At one point in the film, Portman’s character whispers, almost shamefully, “I just want to be perfect.”  A short while later, the ballet director points out the ease with which the character played by Mila Kunis dances.  He tells her that perfection is not just about technique, it is about letting go.  On a personal note, I am at this moment wearing a T-shirt that says “prefecionist.”  I have struggled with perfectionism much of my life, and it was fed early on by my getting perfect scores on standardized tests in high school.  My own perfectionism has resulted in my starting personal projects and not following through because I deemed them less than perfect.  This week as I design a website for darlynebaugh.com, I find myself lacking in ease while holding onto my ideas of perfection.

An example of this was an attempt to have the links to pages on the left menu highlighted so that the user knows where they are on the site.  I kept trying to change the code to make this happen, but I found that some other piece of code was overriding it.  I was able to make it so that I was able to change the background behind the link, but not the font color.  After attempting to find the answer I was looking for over the course of two hours, and trying different solutions, I was frustrated and no closer to the idea that I was stuck on, as to how it should look.  At some point, and I’m not sure exactly when or how I reached this point, I decided to just keep the background but change the color.  I said to myself it was good enough, but I was annoyed that I couldn’t figure out the answer to the problem.  As if I should know how to do something I had never had any experience with.  And that, to me, is madness.

It is certainly a good thing to strive for excellence, even perfection, perhaps, but not at the cost of ease and piece of mind.  In my experience, the thing striven for is never achieved in this way.

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