I bet you’re wondering what I mean by saying perfection is screwing you over. How could I possibly believe such a ridiculous thing? It’s simple really – it’s a very simple and plain fact that we have been taught to ignore all our lives.
Perfection is the ENEMY.
From the very beginning we were taught to put our toys away ( okay most of us ) where they belong, not just anywhere. Put your shoes under your bed/in your closet nice and neat – make sure they match! Peanut butter goes on one piece of bread and jelly the other – a perfect sandwich! Get the sand just a little wet and make sure you pack it into the bucket really well before turning it over for a perfect sandcastle. Get 100 on a test for a perfect score. Act all prim and proper for some perfect friends. Don’t jump in the puddles or you will get your clean clothes all wet, don’t want them to be dirty despite you being a kid and all. Perfectly clean. Perfectly put away. Perfect grades. Perfect friends. Perfect job. Perfect car. Perfect clothes. Perfect Perfect Perfect….perfect.
Oops….you mixed up your shoes, how terrible! Bad kid!
Oh no, you got a B on your test? That’s not good enough!
You’re working at McDonalds? What a joke!
I can’t believe you put the peanut butter AND jelly on the same slice of bread!
What were you THINKING jumping in that puddle? Your perfect clothes are all dirty!
Your friend gets picked on? Sounds like drama, you need a different friend.
That drawing isn’t proportioned properly.
You mixed up the paints so now your picture is ruined!
Are you sensing what I’m getting at? It’s drilled into our heads as children and keeps going as we grow into adults. We have to be perfect or it’s just not good enough.
Well what happens when you’re 30 years old working at McDonalds because it’s the ONLY job you can find right now and you have little mouths to feed at home? All those funny looks you get, all those ‘friends’ talking about you behind your back like you’re NOT busting your butt working 12 hour shifts just trying to keep your kids fed and clothed. All of a sudden, because you’re not in the perfect job – you’re not worth it. There’s that word again – perfect. It’s a joke. It’s a LIE – and it’s making you miserable.
To the 30 year old parent working at McDonalds to support your family, I solute you. I applaud you and your determination to do what ever it takes to keep your family living well. You’re NOT perfect and you know what, that is freaking AWESOME.
Perfection, and the pain it brings, touches all parts of our lives. It is associated with the clothes we wear (*shock* you shop at WALMART? ), the way we style our hair, the cars we drive ( soccer mom here I come! ), the people we marry, the college we go to ( or DON’T go to ), the jobs we have, the way we treat our kids ( that is a WHOLE other ball game ), the books we read, the way we color and draw ( I’m sorry, are YOU Picasso? Cuz I am not. ) and so on.
Not only do we have to deal with the ridicule from outside sources about not being perfect, we have to deal with it from ourselves as well. It’s so wrong, just completely wrong. Thinking you’re not good enough leads to depression, anxiety, self hatred…even self harm. Perfection is a bully. Bullies suck.
Recently I purchased an online workshop by Jane Davenport ( she is awesomeness wrapped up into a blond topped accented fairy floss loving artist ). I learned two VERY important things through this workshop.
- I have ALWAYS been able to draw, despite all the times I said I couldn’t.
- Perfection is ruining my life.
I have always wanted to draw. ALWAYS. My best friend growing up ( and today! ) could draw like a mad woman. I was always envious in a way – a happy envy. I loved to watch her and I would get SO excited when she would let me destroy her drawings by coloring them ( yeah…I got ‘mad’ skillz ). I didn’t see it then but I see it now, she wasn’t happy. Ever. She always felt it could be better if she just fixed this part or erased that part because it wasn’t perfect. Then there was me, coloring away on her unknown masterpieces ‘knowing’ I was doing a great job. Yes, I colored outside of the lines a bit sometimes, used the wrong color palette A LOT and so on – but I was happy. I was THRILLED….and it wasn’t perfect. I didn’t care about it being perfect – I just wanted to be a part of her amazing work the only way I could.
I still pester her to this very day about getting her art work out there for sale. I will continue to pester her to do so until I FINALLY get her to open a store some where, I’m evil that way – and she loves me anyway!
Back to the point though – no matter how hard I tried, no matter how many TIMES I tried, I hated almost everything I drew. I drew a howling wolf scene once ( by accident no less ) and I LOVED it then and love it now. That’s about it though. Everything else I tried to draw…I hated. The nose was ALL messed up, the eyes were too close, the horse had a pot belly of all things, the rainbow was crooked, the fish didn’t have shiny scales blah blah blah blah. It wasn’t PERFECT. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried – it was never perfect. So it wasn’t good enough, it was worthy of the trashcan or long forgotten sketch books. I couldn’t use ( or SHOW! ) something that wasn’t PERFECT. What an idiot I was. Who CARES if it isn’t perfect?? It’s something I did, it’s something I worked HARD on and darn it, it WAS awesome – even if I didn’t know that then.
I purchased this work shop a few days ago. Just a few days…and do you know what I’ve done over the course of a few days? I’ve DRAWN. Granted, it hasn’t been a lot but life is what it is and I do tend to stay crazy busy with 5 kids – but it’s something. They’re NOT perfect drawings. They’re NOT fall out of your chair stunning, they’re NOT gallery worthy but they ARE amazing. Period. I have told perfection to take a hike, to get out of my life, out of my head and go back under what ever screwed up rock it was living in before invading my life! I don’t want perfection, I don’t need perfection – I need to be happy. I need to believe in myself and the things I can do without having to worry about it being perfect.
I don’t need a perfectly clean house ( clean at all would be great though ), I don’t need to design perfect digital scrapbooking collections, I don’t need to make perfect art, I don’t need PERFECT at all. Neither do you.
Once you realize that, it’s like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders and the sun can peek into your tired heart once again. It’s so freeing to just be imperfect. Give yourself this gift, do it for you AND your health; you deserve it.
Bye bye perfection and hellllloooooooo ME!
Danielle S. | The Urban Fairy