First, dear Reader, don’t worry: I’m not going to be “inspired” by Black Swan as I was with Frida.

However: I crave perfection. I’ve always replayed conversations, performances, social scenarios, more often than not to point out to myself what I did wrong and how I could have been better. How I could have handled myself perfectly. I’ve called myself “stupid” in this context for as long as I can remember.

Recognizing the related disfunction, I’ve tried to place less importance on my physique. It will never meet my standard of perfection, so I’ve tried to ignore that it partially defines me.

Sometimes I think the unhealthier aspects of my Protestant upbringing are at fault. It certainly plays a role, but my poor parents see this tendency, remain concerned and befuddled, and do not carry my brand of constant guilt.

I partially blame our societal emphasis on beauty and its unattainable Western standards. My exquisite Kenyan friend, who attended college in Europe before transferring to San Diego, said she never felt so negatively and physically self-conscious before living in our culture.

Quoting (the movie, though it reflects themes in my modern life):

“You could be brilliant, but you’re a coward.”


“Stop saying that! Stop being so fucking weak.”

Later: “The only person standing in your way is you. It’s time to let go.”

Those statements ring true. So how do I move freely, allowing and embracing imperfection without its crippling effect? I’m loved. I love. I contribute. I give. I appreciate. I try not to take more than I give. I want to be perfect, but I try to be gentle with myself when I fail.

I try to pre-empt the world by knowing my weaknesses and owning them before anyone else can be bothered or hurt or disappointed by them, or notice them to point them out. Isn’t that humility? Isn’t that perfection in owning my imperfections?

Or, maybe, my morbid fascination with the impossibility of perfection is self-fulfilling…

I want my life to be more than a beautiful tragedy.

I’m the only person standing in my way, and it’s time to let go.

About earthysara

Maine girl at heart, always, living in San Diego. You can take the girl out of the woods...
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1 Response to Perfect.

  1. KD says:

    Often times, I feel you’re too hard on yourself. Our contemporary culture loves a “bootstrap” story- one where a central tragically heroic figure can stop “standing in her own way,” overcome her obstacles (the ones that are usually her own fault anyway), and “pull herself up by her bootstraps.” This kind of story fails to account for, or hold society responsible for, the very real material and symbolic constraints people face. These constraints include rediculous notions of the “ideal woman,” or the “good mom,” or the “successful employee,” and soforth. I agree that there is always room for growth, but feel that acknowledging our challenges doesn’t make us weak. It helps us to better understand others as well as ourselves, and to learn to redefine “success” in new and liberating ways.

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