Assignment #20 – the future.
Today my future looks imperfect. I am not going to go back and do Assignments #12 through 19 before I allow myself to write #20. I may never go back and do the assignments I’ve missed, been late on, started but not finished, thought of but never started, completely ignored out of sheer overwhelm…
I’m going to write this assignment because no one else gets to decide if I pass or fail this course, no one else is telling me I can or cannot take another course, no one else can expel me from being creative my way.
Today Several days ago, I read a post on recovering from perfectionism, Pregnant with Possibility, on the blog Forced Bloom. I felt compelled to examine my own relationship with perfectionism. Have I accepted my imperfection? Or have I merely accepted my failure to live to my desired standards?
Am I okay with the fact that my house is a mess and it’s 2:00 pm and I still haven’t gotten dressed? Or is that a failure that I no longer have the energy to fight? Am I okay with that one year of university where I failed every course because I stopped handing in assignments and then stopped going to class and instead stayed in my one-room basement suite alone? Or do I hope that year of my life will somehow dissolve in the brilliance of my later university years where every grade was an A (as it should be) and scholarships simply showed up on my tuition statements?
I looked at all the areas of my life that I felt I had “let go” of perfectionism. Truth is, they all fell into 2 categories: 1) I accept myself as a failure or 2) I hope I’ve done enough to hide or recoup my failures. I may have thought I had let go of perfectionism, but perfectionism hasn’t let go of me. It still has the power to make me feel less than who I am.
So I am not letting go of my failures. I am embracing them and telling Perfectionism to start walking and not to bother looking back. I suck at several things – but not one of those things is limiting my future potential or satisfaction. All I really have to let go of is my desire to be good at everything. Embracing my areas of suckiness should put a sock in the mouth of perfectionism.
I once sat in a basement room with no windows, seated in a circle with about 40 other people, and participated in a sharing circle. This is a pretty way of saying no one is above anyone else and everyone will be heard. I spoke of brokenness – in myself, in the people who contributed to my breaking and and the brokenness hidden in people who pass by, shiny and smiling.
As we went around the circle, someone responded to the idea of brokenness with this statement: “You are only broken if you can’t be fixed”. Mind boggled as I was I did manage to not shout out my thoughts on that possibly being the stupidest statement ever, which was good because that would definitely have been against the rules of the sharing circle.
broken adjective bro·ken \ˈbrō-kən\
1. having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order.
2. (of a person) having given up all hope; despairing.
In fact, if we are using the word “fix” in the sense of repairing something, I think, by definition, that something has to be broken.
1a : to restore by replacing a part or putting together what is torn or broken : to fix
b : to restore to a sound or healthy state :
However, I did not think this person was stupid. I knew them to have a good deal of wisdom and experience which I respected and I have always wondered if perhaps there was something more behind their statement that I was missing.
On that cold Sunday afternoon I couldn’t fathom such an idea. Was it not patently clear, looking at me, that I was a broken person? Would not the evidence of brokenness – the cracks and scars left from the past – be the first thing revealed by any casual glance?
I may be broken, but I am still good. Not perfect, but good. And, since I have no way of determining whether I am good enough, I will be satisfied with good. Good is….good.
This song is a great booster when you feel buried in the rubble of failure. I recommend listening to it daily, or, if you’re like me, put it on when you start assembling dinner for the crockpot, realize it is on repeat when you are up to your elbows in raw chicken, and listen to it 17 times in a row. That works, too. Surprisingly.
So this is a new day for me; a day of not spending countless hours that I don’t have reworking every word and every phrase to my satisfaction, a day without the Kevlar, a day of being grammatically incorrect, a day of letting go.
Today I am writing because I need to churn it out. I don’t know why and I don’t know who needs to read it, but I need to put it out there.
Imperfection. There it is.