Too often in our lives, we worry about being perfect. We’re all guilty of it in one way or another-we could be making a dish and spend hours on it, but we’ll fret if it’s slightly burned. Or we could have a poem or song idea spring to our minds, then we’ll kick ourselves afterward over a chord we missed or a note we didn’t hit. Or we could write someone a long letter, make a sales pitch, or see someone we’ve not seen in 20 years, and we’ll spend the time afterward chewing our fingernails past the first knuckle about what we should have said or done in the moment. Furthermore, we spend who-knows-how much time worrying about ourselves. Our eyes. Our hair. Our weight. If we have enough of a tan. How our smile looked in a selfie. How our voice sounded on a call or message. The list goes on and on.
I am guilty of this in my own right, especially in creative endeavors. Many, MANY times after interviewing someone, I will have those thoughts of, “well, why didn’t you say THIS,” or, “why didn’t you ask them THIS at THIS time,” etc. And many times when making videos for my ongoing radio/TV time capsule project, I’ll watch them back through and think, “why didn’t you include this piece of audio? Why did you have the audio clips in this order? Why did you cut out this much of a song?” Even in writing these blog posts, I’ll often find myself wishing I’d have gone longer, or included one more photograph, or posted one extra blurb about x, y or z.
It can be a draining and seemingly never-ending cycle. The vampire of perfectionism is highly persuasive. But in the course of a lifetime’s run, we begin to discover that, instead of being perfect, the most beautiful and genuine thing we can be is imperfect. ❤
I am spending this month of April writing various pieces of poetry, as a challenge a friend and I are partaking in for National Poetry Month. This morning, I posted a tanka, a haiku-like poem but with two extra seven-syllable lines tacked to it. It read as follows:
“dewdrop pearls shine
as forest daylight finds us
in each other’s arms
kisses on the riverbank
it’s a beautiful morning”
I shared it with her and some others that are writing with me, and our own Em pointed out that I had only four syllables in the first line when I thought I had five. After some conversation, I realized that the word pearls is only one syllable-at least in most dialects! I had spent most all of my life thinking the word was a two-syllable word, and when it was pointed out to me that it was only a single syllable, I felt highly self-conscious about my voice and largely Southern dialect. Until it was pointed out to me by my closest poetic friend Silvia that, although I had been mistaken, I had still written a beautifully-worded tanka poem for this day of the challenge. Something beautiful had sprung from this Parnassian imperfection. And without realizing it at the time, my 30-out-of-31 syllable tanka poem resembled a pearl-a sacred verbal geometry created by irritation and formed by grit. And it put everything into perspective, and showed me what to write this blog post about today.
In the constant tug-of-war we find ourselves in between striving for perfection and doing our best, we can lose sight of what our true intentions are. Renée, my closest friend and co-creator has clashed many times with me over the notion of “done is better than good”. I fought tooth and nail against that notion for so long. I had it in my head that, if something was worth doing, it was worth doing to perfection. Until I realized that perfect is just a pipe dream, something that is pumped into our heads from an early age. Perfect may be achievable in certain fields or passions or lines of work, but the width and breadth of it is that perfect is something we can only chase after. Doing your best is more than enough in most situations! And most times, doing your best will lead you to the most beautiful of situations, scenarios and places. Being yourself unapologetically will be worth more to you than any amount of silver or gold.
Post that selfie of you in a baggy t-shirt and sweatpants! Sing that song or read that poem in your beautiful voice and dialect! Embrace your eyes, nose, smile, belly, stretch marks, beauty marks, anything that makes you uniquely you! Your imperfections do not define you, nor do they make you any less of a person. They each make you your own beautiful and evergreen kind of perfect ❤
I hope this blog finds you well, and in the comments, talk a bit about how you embrace perfect imperfection!
As always, take care, much love and may God richly bless!