I’m Not Perfect Either So Please Come As You Are

#Reverb14, Day 3:
It’s all too easy putting off loving where we are until everything is perfect. What can you love about where you are now?

It surrounds me everywhere I go. The messages inundate me each time I walk into a store, turn on a television, or log onto the internet. I am constantly berated, reminded of how extraordinarily imperfect I am.  In fact, a quick Google search can give me the answers I need to fix my imperfections:

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In .35 seconds I can learn how to be perfect.

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My boobs are not big enough. My waist is not tiny enough since I’ve had the baby. My stretch marks exist. My layers grow out and I have more than three or four gray hairs. And thanks to Kim Kardashian, I now know that I can’t even balance a champagne glass on my ass. Thanks a lot, Kim:

Thanks to Facebook marketing, I can now look in the mirror and believe that my eyelashes aren’t good enough because they are not revolutionary in  3D lushness.  They are just regular lashes.  My fingernails don’t cut it when they are polished because they aren’t wrapped in anything. I only know how to wrap my scarf in two ways instead of the two dozen being shared in a Youtube video. I never tried to master cake pops because they make me gag.  I won’t upcycle pallets because I’m afraid of splinters and tetanus. I refuse to believe Gandhi, Buddha, Marilyn Monroe, or the Dalai Lama have said half the things that have been tattooed on wrists, ankles, or the insteps of feet.

Perfection is a pernicious disease. It infects faster than the cold or flu and yet it takes more than washing your hands to help prevent it. I wouldn’t say I am immune to the seduction of perfection, but I have long ago grown tired of its image. It is exhausting to maintain an image, to create an illusion of false reality. I did it for years to hide my anxiety disorder because I worried too much about looking “unprofessional” or appearing “not put together”. I worked for an administrator who had never been ill enough to vomit and employed a nanny for her children; she was not sympathetic to anyone who couldn’t “get over things” even if she said she was. My last two years of teaching involved me waking up earlier and earlier in order to get dressed and factor in time for a panic attack. I needed two hours to prepare myself for the work day because I needed the ritual of putting on make-up, curling my hair, choosing an outfit — all slow and routine behaviors — to keep myself calm. To keep my world looking normal. Perfect.

We have built a strange world around us that runs on confusion and mixed messaging. It feels like the world revolves around a cocktail of designer yoga wardrobes for women who are meditating for simplicity after having their hair done at a spa and buying organic groceries at a franchised all-natural market forty miles away from home.  How many quotes on living a simple life and breathing in fresh air does one person need in her home to remind her to leave her home?

(I’m serious, how many does one need? I’m asking for a friend.)

There may be a time when I can sew in a straight line and will bother ironing clothes. I only barely cleaned the windowsill in my daughter’s room not because I’m lazy (completely lazy, that is) but because I didn’t want to wash off her little footprints from when she would climb onto it instead of napping. I know I am not perfect. I am happy to sit next to you on my unswept porch and fill you in on all my imperfections. I am more than happy to share with people my failings and mistakes.  Not because I have a bizarre sense of pride in these things, but because I want people to feel comfortable in knowing that perfection is neither expected from me nor is it required for acceptance.  The more open I am about my screwiness and anxiety, the more seats are left open for my tribe at the table.

Come as you are, please. Let me tell you about when I tried to make alfredo sauce from cauliflower and thought I invented a weapon of mass destruction instead. We can laugh together and share in the relief that comes from embracing the gift of being human. And mercifully flawed.

C. Streetlights
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Published by C. Streetlights

I wrote and illustrated my first bestseller, "The Lovely Unicorn" in the second grade and I've been terrified of success ever since. Published by ShadowTeamsNYC and represented by Lisa Hagen Books

8 thoughts on “I’m Not Perfect Either So Please Come As You Are”

  1. Beth says:

    Alfredo sauce from cauliflower?! First, eauw. Second, why? Third, eauw!

    And I much prefer friends who are imperfect. I constantly remind myself that God made me who I am. On purpose. HIS purpose. And who am I to argue with the Creator? As I grow older, I, too, become far more comfortable with myself. I gave up make-up shortly after college–I do wear it for the first three dates, weddings, funerals, and 80% of church attendance… after all, I *own* make-up and know how to apply it. I own 22 pair of Vans tennis shoes and can match them to every item in my wardrobe–including my Star Wars Vans (yes, I went there). I don’t always shave my legs–I had back surgery and it’s not comfortable turning myself into a pretzel, so sue me. I have stretch marks without the benefit of giving birth as an explanation. I sometimes snort when I laugh (and I can admit that). I get my feelings hurt very easily. I don’t like most people and I certainly don’t like being around most people. But I’m witty, intelligent, loving, caring, and beautiful in the eyes of the people that matter.

    Mrs. Trujillo told a shy, uncertain, girl with a dubious self-esteem that she should always be herself and not try to be someone else because the people who loved and mattered would love me for who I am. It took me from age sixteen to somewhere in my late twenties to figure out what that meant, but it’s the most impactful statement–outside of Scripture–in my life.

    And I’d say that I wish I was more concise when I write, but I’d be lying. Again… it’s part of who I am. And part of my charm, as far as I’m concerned! 😉

    1. Charming fits you to a perfect T. xo

  2. Kat says:

    That last para. Killed me.

    1. I had to go back and read what I had written as I had forgotten. Trust me; if you had tried the cauliflower alfredo sauce it would have killed you.

  3. Sara Rose says:

    Ohmygoodness I love you so much.

    1. Oh my, well as you know, I love you so much too!

  4. Meredith says:

    This? This is love. I feel so much better knowing someone else out there gets it.

    1. Yes! And I am so grateful knowing the same. There is so much joy in “getting it” isn’t there?

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