Way back at the beginning of the month,  I made some comments about creating an intention of being imperfect during this AEDM month.

Perfectionism can be a  crippling mental disorder that has, at its core, the fear of making a mistake. I heard this definition on Oprah, and it really rang true for me. I recognize this as a part of my emotional set. I am by no means debilitated by this, but I do know when my mind is holding me back by this fear.

(It’s hard to write about this stuff without it sounding like I’m being hard on myself.)

Doodling is one place where my perfectionism is quieted a little.

A couple of years ago someone told me about Zentangles, and I tried to adopt it without really learning the different *tangles* (patterns).  And then  I developed my own doodling style, which by now is pretty recognizable, like handwriting.

And it was good.

But I’ve been getting a little bored, and so I thought I would venture back to the world of Zentangles. I’ve never bought their little kit, but I do get the Zentangle newsletter. And they have new patterns in most of their newsletter issues which are archived on their website. So I copied the patterns onto a word document, printed them out,  then got out my sketch book and practiced.

yincut and beeline tangles

SeZ (this would make a nice pillow, I think)

paradox and jonquil tangles

eye-wa, swarm, pepper, munch in and jonquil tangles

AEDM Zendala © Sue O’Kieffe 2009

I played with these tangles for about five days, and like any kind of learning curve it felt awkward. And that’s sure ok.  It’s good to stretch and try new things and feel new. I’m glad I did this and will try to play with these tangles some more before the month is over.

So regarding perfectionism. How many of you out there struggle with perfectionism, and what do you do to quiet those voices?


11 thoughts on “TANGLED UP IN ZENS – AEDM 19

  1. I struggle with perfectionism by allowing myself not to be perfect, but allowing myself to do a half ass job in some things and a less than perfect job in others. I allow mistakes and forgive myself for them, as I assume I will be forgiven for them by other people. I’m a nice person, why not?

  2. Sue, these are good! I’m going to check out your link. Now, you’re going to be incorporating some of these into your “wild and crazy” doodles, I just know it! About that perfectionism….well, i’ve trying to adopt the “I just a student of _____ (fill in the blank here) and it lets me off the hook some”.
    I sure know what you mean, though!!

  3. I am just learning about zentangles. I like that you created your own style and didn’t just follow what the patterns were “supposed” to be. Now that you have your own way, it is neat you are revisiting the suggested patterns,

  4. I think I was 15 when I was crying and my Father took me aside and said that our family was plagued by perfectionism and it was okay. Unfortunately, he never gave me the follow-up, “it’s okay to screw up.” I think he was still struggling with it himself. At any rate, the dang thing crippled me from doing things I would totally have loved (do love) for a very long time. Now I dance… and this helped and does help quite a bit. There’s a certain kind of fearlessness involved in improvised dance that has allowed me to not care what the next step is, or if it doesn’t quite fit what was in my head a moment ago. There’s something about ‘living in the moment’ – which sounds so cliché every time I write or say it – but which is also so true. I have learned that living in the moment allows me to understand that amazing things can come from imperfection. Hey, even nature ‘messes up’ sometimes and it’s the most beautiful ‘flaw’ ever… I have learned to allow myself to mess up and just know that from that comes learning, and that’s what I do as a human, I learn… and I can’t learn without being imperfect. 🙂 Of course, I could be justifying it all to myself… but I don’t think so – I like the compassion and sense of human-comradery I have from screwing up… there’s so much less pressure 😉

    I personally love your doodles… to me, they just speak of focus and ‘completion’. The over-all effect of them is mesmerizing and when I begin to look at the detail, I just get sucked further and further in. There’s definitely something magical about your doodles 🙂

    • shamsi ~ thank you for your beautiful comment. i love dancing too and have played with movement and agree about the getting lost part and loss of self consciousness ~ what a fun way to heal from the family plague that must have been for you.
      intellectually i know that im just fine the way i am and certainly many times in art i have created many happy mistakes. i think it is the creating in solitude and the beginning of darkness in winter that gets to me at times. im grateful for the comments and feedback from this incredible community of artists to know that i am not alone! ~suedoodles

  5. Ah perfectionism…the perceived bane of many. I recently joined a “creative drawing mandala” class and was intrigued by the result (as always) and my reaction to it. I began the drawing thinking I would just go with the flow. However, with pencil to paper I found I wanted my drawing to be just so…particular, balanced, all tickety-boo. The finished product was pretty much that way, but not exactly. When I looked at the end result I realized that it looked nothing like what I had seen during my meditation but the “imperfection” of it all was what made it more interesting. Now I can look at each individual area and get lost in it and I find different emotions surfacing each time. This drawing is not what I envisioned but it is what I see!

  6. I love how each artist on AEDM inspires me. I have seen several of you talented women with your Zentangles but never thought to do it myself. Your words on procrastination struck a chord with me and you know what? I am going to try it and perhaps try several different ways of creating with/from them…. or from my own version/rebirthing of them.

    THANK YOU for being bold and creating and most of all, for thumbing your nose (and pencil!) at your Fear Goblins!

    • i have already started another doodle incorporating my newly learned tangles using my own particular style. no doubt about it, doodling is addictive!
      thanks for your supportive comments, julie. can’t wait to see your zentangles

  7. Oooh, I love your patterns. Thanks for sharing. I’m going to look more into Zentangles. Regarding perfectionism… I always felt it was bad to be the way I was… a perfectionist until I read “Now Discover Your Strengths” and after taking the Strengthsfinder quiz I found that my #1 strength is that I’m a “maximizer” (basically a perfectionist). So I realized that hey, I’m really, really good at taking something to the nth degree. That’s actually a great quality that not everyone has. It really made me feel different about it. It’s not a strength that our society generally appreciates. So my challenge is to choose which things I’m going to “maximize” and pick the things that really have a lot of value to me.

  8. Dear Sue,

    I love watching your experiments with the zentangles. They are really cool! And dealing with the perfectionism struggle? I think what works best for me is to try and remember to do what is easiest and the most fun, because when I’m caught in the perfectionism cycle my creative process always feels HARD and no fun at all!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s