By Nick Slater
It’s a lie. It’s a trap.
A gift of an anti-climactic never-ending quest
for ultimate fulfilment and over 100 Insta hearts.
When they say don’t give up,
they want you to strive for better and best,
and perfect and the rest,
and when this doesn’t become
the adult life that you aimed for,
and you’re sat on your bed
feeling lonely and piss poor,
you wish that they would let you be average,
somewhere around the mean,
but I was below average at maths in school
so I don’t know what that means,
and I punish myself every day for imperfection,
I’m scared of acceptance and fear rejection,
inside I’m a child and I feel like a failure,
once more I’m the kid who can’t control his behaviour.
And thanks to dreams and Simon Cowell and “you can be whatever you want to be”,
I now feel shit when I can’t cook a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe properly,
even though it’s got 26 ingredients and I can’t afford them all,
so what do I expect when I go in for perfect and end up feeling like a fool.
If I was aiming for average, I would have felt like I’d done alright,
rather than replaying the dinner over and over,
pomegranate molasses keeping me up at night.
I’ve got reminders on my phone, every day, every hour,
‘wash clothes!’ ‘go for swim!’
‘make lunch!’ ‘take a shower!’
If I fall out of step, if I miss a single beat,
my heart begins to stutter, I can start to feel the heat
rising into panic, into hyperventilation,
if I didn’t have the shame I’d ask for help, for medication,
but I’m scared of being normal, of never taking risks,
if I just live my ordinary and imperfect life how will I
ever end up talking to Kirsty Young on Desert Island Discs?
Because that’s the perfect goal I aim for,
the target dictating every move I make,
overthinking, overanalysing, allowing my OCD
to curse me for any and every mistake.
So I dare you to be average, enjoy your average life,
stop fighting to be perfect, give up your daily strife.
It’s okay if you never ‘make it’,
because you’re happy being ‘this’,
remove yourself from the constant cycle of disappointment,
surely that’s the recipe for eternal bliss.
If you want to watch Nick perform Perfectly Average in full, check out the video below on Vent’s YouTube channel:
You can follow Nick Slater on Twitter.
Read more our poetry here.