as a graphic designer, perfection is my job, it’s what i’m good at. (though, this does not include proof-reading). i’ll be the first to admit i’m a perfectionist and if anyone is to have control on a project, i’d prefer it to be me. that’s how it’s always been…that is…until i came to ukraine.
in ukraine i’d say i’m in control of things about 42% of the time. and that’s being generous. it’s taken a while to get used to this ‘out of control’ feeling and realize that taking a back seat is sometimes better. it’s certainly easier to laugh at things from back there anyways. a while ago i threw up my hands and said ‘okay ukraine! you win, i get it’, learning to do things a bit more their way, and less my way. to set my opinions aside, learn from others, and know that while things aren’t perfect, they always work out one way or another.
while i’ve learned to let go of a lot of things, of course every now and then i still wish i could be a little bit more than 42% of control in the outcome of things. most recently in the world map project i’m heading at my school. since painting a 16 ft x 8 ft map via grid method requires a little perfectionism, i figured i had this in the bag.
i did my research, did the math and measurements, and figured it would be manageable i didn’t account for the maintenance men at school to so strongly questioning my methods and insisting i do it other ways — aaaaand back to 42%. this probably would have bothered me when i first got here, but now i just say ‘eh, sure, why not, we’ll find out’. i didn’t really care how we got to our finish point, just as long as the outcome was the same. so i let them show me the ‘best way’ to start drawing the grid.
this sort of worried me since accuracy is not exactly a prevalent thing in the land of few building codes, macgyver’d remodeling, and not a 90* angle to be found. they probably sensed my hesitation since i reiterated that it has to be exact and there’s not much room, if any, for error. one of the men joked that it wouldn’t be a ukrainian version, using his hand to show wavy lines all over the place. we laughed, i agreed and said, no, no, this one has to be an american version.
it was frustrating to have their incessant butting-in and taking over, but i thought, don’t bother, be patient and just let it be. so we began drawing the horizontal lines first. it took quite a while to get started, measuring every bit, making sure it was straight, that is was ‘perfect’. but 3/4 way done, we stepped back and it was clear something wasn’t right. so we had to erase half of the work we did and do it again. it was heart breaking and i felt bad for the two kids that came to help me on a saturday. i wouldn’t at all have blamed them for saying ‘this isn’t fun, i’m gonna head home’. it wasn’t fun. drawing the grid was a pain in the butt.
but we got it done. and ‘mostly’ accurate at that! i came early to school this morning and worked on the vertical lines, nakita from my 9th form class and sasha from 11th form helped to finish. kids kept walking by to see what we were doing often saying ‘whooooa class!’. i had hoped to have a mixture of boys and girls from 9th-11th form, but it’s been only two dedicated boys and two other very helpful ones. though, at least i’m not out their working on it alone like i feared.
even though drawing every country is tedious work, i think the boys enjoy it. one because they got out of a few classes to help, and two because i’m a pretty good boss and bought them all pizzas (the school’s bologna, ketchup, and mayo version) and drinks. so they maaaaay have stayed to help to get out of a few classes, but they stayed and worked with me until 4. we nearly finished drawing in all the countries, but it had been a long day and it was time for them to get home.
when we packed-up and got ready to leave, we all stepped back to look at the wall. i could tell they were proud of the work that they did today. and even though a few countries may be a little misshapen and a few tiny islands wiped out, seeing their faces lit with pride, is worth letting go of perfectionism all together.