One of my very first boyfriends was C-O-O-L. Really and truly cool. Scarily cool. Like, rock star cool of the “not warm” variety. One day, we took a stroll on the boardwalk. He stumbled over a popped board and I made the mistake of giggling. (Sidebar: it wasn’t my intention to be unkind. Physical humour fractures me…pinnacle of hilarity for me is a football to the groin…it’s sad but true). He didn’t find it remotely amusing and went back to said plank to hammer the crap out of it with his heel. That was our last date. He couldn’t handle not being perfect in that moment and I couldn’t handle anyone taking themselves that seriously.
A beautiful thing is never perfect. – Egyptian proverb
The above quote circulated like wildfire in the twittosphere last week leaving me to wonder about my own relationship with perfectionism. I know it’s entirely futile and YET, I still bump up against it from time to time.
I succumbed long ago to the fact that I am a generalist through and through. I am good at many things and haven’t perfected anything. My risotto’s good, but I’ll not be writing any cookbooks any time soon. My garden is pretty, though admittedly, I ALWAYS prune the wrong things at the wrong time. Much like my words…I don’t always get them right (case in point...you may have noticed the made up word in the title of this post). I am not perfect. Not by a long stretch.
In my five year old daughter’s eyes, however, I am perfect, and so’s her daddy. We are perched on a pedestal, bathed in love and light with rose petals at our feet and rainbows in our hair. This is lovely, warm and when I think about a time when she becomes a petulant adolescent who “wishes she were never born”, my eyes well up and I wish time could just stand still (more on the crying later).
The thing is, this devoted adulation, lovely as it is, has NOTHING to do with the parents that we are, or the job we’re doing and EVERYTHING to do with her entire sense of security depending on it. It’s just a matter of time before she starts to see what we know to be true. We are fallible and flawed. Oh, the inhumanity! In fact, the gilding has already flaked off of our cool-factor.
And that’s good. The moment she invites us down from the pedestal is the moment that she will be stepping into her own and truly on her path to her fullest. It means that she’ll be developing her own independence and brand of strong convictions. Starting to galvanize her own sense of right and wrong (rooted in some good ol’ fashioned values like respect, natch).
So I am fine with not being perfect (like I had a choice). In fact, I celebrate it from time to time…by laughing, a LOT. Sometimes I laugh so hard I cry. My overt sensitivity may well be one of my favourite personal imperfections. It serves me well in my work and in my love for others.
Feel like celebrating your favourite personal imperfection?