Being endeared by our quirks, rather than in fear of them
I’m a perfectionist. Always have been, always will be. Though, I deal with it in a slightly different way now to before. Deep down I’m a perfectionist, but I’ve had to train myself not to obsess over every detail all the time – and sometimes it means the pendulum swings too far the other way. I frequently spill food on myself, I purposely leave things until the last minute, and I stare at rooms for hours redesigning them in my head instead of doing the housework. All of it drives me crazy. If I were a little more careful, if I were a little more organised, if I were a little less distracted… Oh the possibilities! Yet when I see imperfections in other people, I smile. I bathe in their beauty. I delight in their humanity. From odd sock habits to old burn scars, grey hairs to getting the lyrics wrong – imperfections in the people I love are beautifully, inexplicably unique; a part of their identity.
I was once told that I had a break in my singing voice – an imperfection that made it unique. Someone delighted in my flaw, but I remember still defaulting to discomfort in my perception – still managing to be slightly bothered. I worked for months on trying to make clear transitions between notes - thinking that I had received a criticism disguised as a compliment and I had to remedy the cause. What I now realise, is that I received a compliment – dressed as nothing else – until I tried to wear it. I always thought I was just as comfortable receiving compliments as I was delivering them… Until that compliment was about a so-called imperfection. Here I was thinking they were beautiful on other people, and ugly on me.
I’m wearing the soup I had for dinner, writing this instead of something with a deadline, and I have been looking around me deciding how to arrange the lounge room. Deep down I’m a perfectionist - on the surface I’m a disorganised, distracted grub. As I wind down for the evening, like every night, I will no doubt find myself singing – to myself, my radio, my dog. But here’s the difference: Tonight when my voice breaks between notes, I’m going to smile. Because what more love can we give to those that delight in our imperfections, than to celebrate them ourselves? What more love can we give to ourselves than to celebrate our imperfections the way we celebrate those of others?
Deep down, I’m a perfectionist. So I will work harder, every day, to perfect my imperfections – to be the perfect version of my imperfect self. And to be perfectly proud of who that is. I challenge you, perfectionists, to find your beautiful flaws - and do the same.