The screams hit me when I entered the store. Perfectionism! It was everywhere. From the wrinkle-reducing serums and creams, to the perfectly-placed sweater on the perfectly-made model.
A society obsessed with perfectionism, a world searching for the unblemished, the unflawed, the unreal.
I can never live up to society’s standards, a world of plastic-molded women with perfectly placed body parts, measured by a machine, created by someone I don’t even know. Magazine covers, enhanced by photographers. Ads selling products to make us perfect, like the rest.
Remove blemishes! Ward away dimples! Soften your skin! Buy it all, and you will perfect.
As if you aren’t good enough the way you are.
Clothes formed to tuck-in tummies, hair products to keep every strand in place, lip colors to erase the blandness we think exists.
As if that wasn’t enough, our attitudes, the images of who we are, are to be perfect, too. No crying, no sobbing, no telling the world what we think. This is what I was taught, this is what I believed, to be stoic was to hold grace. It isn’t true.
Ads, society, tell us, we, our homes, our lives, should be in perfectly formed arrangement. But try as we might, it never will be.
We are flawed. Blemished. But good enough the way we are.
This has been my year of perfectionism, the year I am learning to let go.
Perfectionism has followed me my whole life, from the time I was a little girl with perfectly placed curls around my hair, decked out in a perfect little dress over my not-so-perfect body.
I turned into a teen and spent hours in the bathroom, trying to create perfect skin, perfectly shaved legs, and perfect hair. I grew so obsessed with perfectionism, I became anorexic, fooling everyone, even my parents.
As an adult, I maintained (or tried to) the perfect home, no dust, no dirt in sight. Nothing out of place. Everything cleaned, always put away.
But the world falls apart when you aim for perfection. Because perfectionism, it doesn’t exist. You, me, the world, we are flawed. No matter what the ads say. No matter what commercials tell you. No matter the promises creams and oils and lotions place on their bottles.
Perfectionism never has, and never will, exist.
One day, I knew I needed to change. Nothing around me felt right. I didn’t like how my home didn’t stay clean, how imperfect my relationships were, and how I could never finish a writing project that felt right.
I aimed for everything to be perfect, and when it didn’t turn out that way, I became tired, anxious, and a little depressed.
I stepped back and looked at life, saw what perfectionism had done to me, and decided I could never live up to what society, or I, expected of me.
I am letting go of perfectionism, no longer wanting to be a prisoner to a perfect world that never can be. To a world that held me captive.
A funny thing happens when you let go of perfectionism. You see beauty where you never saw it before. I saw it one day in a dying rose, and another, across an elderly woman’s wrinkly skin. Beauty is there, in the scars of the wounded, and the lines across faces of the weary.Perfectionism isn’t beauty. Beauty is imperfect. Click To Tweet
Perfectionism is not beauty. Imperfectness is where the beauty lies. In cuts and gashes, in gray and receding hair.
Remember how beautiful you are. Show the world your flaws. You are wonderful. Amazing. Perfectly imperfect. Both you, and me.