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Empowered imperfectionism

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

Being endeared by, not in fear of our quirks


I’m a perfectionist. Always have been, always will be. 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 and trip over my own feet. 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. I can sincerely say I drive myself crazy. If I were a little more careful, if I were a little more organised, if I were a little less distracted… the possibilities are endless! 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 goofy lyrics – 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 what I perceived as a flaw, and remember defaulting to discomfort. I was so bothered by this 'crack' that 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. Here I was thinking imperfections 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 have surveying my surroundings deciding how to rearrange my home. 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?

As the legendary Leonard Cohen said: " Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."

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