When life is difficult, it’s hard to keep community. You want to curl into yourself, pretend everything is all right. Wear the mask, you tell yourself. The smile frozen in place; everything is fine, just fine. An escape out the door before the face crinkles into tears.
Perfectionism is a constant companion. It can be quiet for days, weeks, sometimes even months. It’s biding its time, waiting to strike. When it does, it fights dirty. A kick or punch to the kidneys. An elbow to the center of the back.