Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Inspirational Tips: Perfection? That's Not For Me


This piece was originally published on my personal blog. It is something that I struggle with from time to time as an artist, Mom and human being so I re-read it often because it's important to draw inspiration from imperfection. I wanted to share it with all of you as a little reminder to celebrate the "imperfections" that makes you wonderfully unique!

Recently, a friend revealed that her doctor told her that she has crooked kneecaps. I never knew that was possible. Honestly, I find the older I get the less I know and yet, that thought brings me comfort because it means the older I get, the more there is to learn.

“Why me? Why do I have to have crocked kneecaps? Why can’t I be normal like everyone else?” she wondered.

Right there in that moment, I started to think about concepts like imperfection versus perfection, normal and mainstream America.

There is a space that exists between my teeth. A small freckle makes its home at the highest point of a curve on my top lip. It sits there like a person on top of Everest. At the change of the seasons, my scalp gets dry and I have to wait a couple of weeks for it to adjust. My hips are not comfortable hanging out in “skinny” jeans. My eyebrows are never perfectly sculpted. One of my toes is crooked and always looks like it’s trying to run away from the rest. In the summer, when everyone is in flip-flops with perfect toes, my toenail polish may be chipped or worse, they may be completely naked toe nails because I simply haven’t had the time or money to get them done.

I cry reading cards -not just the “care enough to the send the best” ones – and at commercials, like the ones for Christmas. I don’t always say what’s on my mind. I do sometimes answer, “Nothing” when it’s a big “Something.” I don’t always say the right thing; I’m not always comforting when needed. There are times I do not pick up the phone to call simply because in that moment I hate the phone, I hate talking, and I just want to be quiet. Sometimes I hibernate like a brown bear and don’t know how to come back out to play without a little coaxing. There are times I’m not happy for people and their successes simply because I am wallowing in my own self-induced funkiness.

My child may not be on the perfect eating and sleeping schedules. The house may not be immaculate because sometimes I’m just too tired to clean or better yet, I found an article, an email, a movie, a game to play with my little one that was much more interesting. I may not balance my checkbook like a champ because sometimes I want to take numbers and money and throw it all out the window. I may not always make dinner because every now and again, I want someone to surprise me with a yummy meal.

I may share an idea with you way too early in its conception and it might sound ridiculous. I might tell you an idea and then not follow through with it because I got scared I would fail. I may not say, “I’m scared I will fail,” because I’m not sure I can be vulnerable like that. I might just hold it in or I could bark at you when you ask me about something totally different because I’m not a person who can hold things in, even though I mistakenly try. I might say things in anger that I don’t mean. I might push you to feel something through actions or stupid words because I can’t find the right words to tell you how I feel.

There is a chance I will love you too much. If someone hurts you, I might get fired up. I may cry for you when you have no tears of your own. When you least want me to, I might just hug you. I may applaud too loud when celebrating you or laugh too hard at something you say. I could trust you with more secrets than you can hold and hold onto yours with both hands.

These are my imperfections. They are a part of who I am. I was born with some, I’ve acquired others. I have fixed a number of them or simply found acceptance. They are my crosses to bear and my motivating factors. These are the things that make me beautiful. They are the reminders to challenge myself. They are the starting point for growth. They are what make you and me, unique.

Your imperfect ideas are what make for amazing creations. Those “mistakes” you make in the process of creating your perfect piece are the very things that make it different, memorable, and unique.

I don’t know about you but normal – well, I think that’s a concept created by mainstream America executives so you’ll buy their products. Use this, wear that, drive this and you’ll be extra-ordinary - more ordinary than ordinary, more normal than normal. And of course their products will make your skin, hair, thoughts, emotions, actions - you - perfect. Personally, I’d rather the crooked kneecaps. I’d rather be perfectly imperfect.

Text Copyright Natasha Reilly 2007.

18 comments:

Dirt. said...

you may be imperfect... we all are. but today you have perfect timing. i needed that.

Meekiyu said...

another uplifting post... to me the imperfections are what make everyone perfect but sometimes we're just too close to it and obsess on how imperfect it makes us feel. Blah... =D

Natasha said...

Dirt. - thank you and just know I think you are wonderfully, perfectly imperfect ;)

Meekiyu - SOOOOO well said...so well said...thank you for that!

Natasha said...

Dirt. - thank you and just know I think you are wonderfully, perfectly imperfect ;)

Meekiyu - SOOOOO well said...so well said...thank you for that!

Natasha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jodi said...

I think our imperfections are what make us more interesting. Our imperfections are what my us who we are.

Great post today. Thanks.

jodi said...

I think our imperfections are what make us more interesting. Our imperfections are what my us who we are.

Great post today. Thanks.

Rowena said...

Yay crooked knee caps! Down with perfection!

I wonder how many of us are perfectionists or recovering perfectionists. How many people does this handicap.

I know that my perfectionism used to paralyze me. I couldn't move forward until I let it go.

Natasha said...

Jodi - I am in complete agreement with you! They are what make us unique and beautiful!!

Rowena - Down with perfection is right! I am a recovering perfectionist...well, at least a work in progress hahaha...it used to paralyze me as well...now I'm working through it at least hehehe

lifeartdesigns said...

Oh my gosh woman!! You continue to amaze me. I think this is something many of us struggle with as artists and as women. You said it all so well.

You said:
These are the things that make me beautiful. They are the reminders to challenge myself. They are the starting point for growth. They are what make you and me, unique.

I am so grateful you know this...it took me so long to realise this.

Natasha, you are beautiful and wise.
Hugs,
Janie

Natasha said...

Janie - thank you, thank you, thank you..it is something we all struggle with and what I'm thankful for is that we all have each other to share, learn and grow with. Thank you for your encouragement...YOU are beautiful, fabulous, inspiring and wonderful!
xoxoxo

Pixie said...

This makes me smile, smile, smile. You're a lovely person, and this is a heartwarming post.

Baroness Bijoutery said...

Thank you for that post...I've always had problems with self worth. It has taken me years to realize I am worth something, I am a good person..most of the time and I have something to contribute to this world. Okay maybe it's not a cure for cancer but that's okay. I finally gave myself permission to be me...good bad or indifferent I am who I am. Thank you again for that post. I wish everyone would read this and then think...

SalvagedExpression said...

I hear you! I have tall shoulders to the point that I should almost have "Your Ad Here" tattooed on my chest.
I've decided that there are no perfect things in reality. No square pegs or round holes just a bunch of really odd shapes. It's better that way though because when one odd shape finds another that fits (whatever it is, a friend, dress, appartment) it's much more satisfying.

Amanda (Blake) Fall said...

Natasha... one of these days you won't make me cry. I thought I was done after reading Rowena's amazing post... then I scrolled down and found this. Have you published this anywhere else? More people NEED to hear this...

For so many years, I've been ashamed of parts of me that aren't "normal." For me, they're more personality-based than physical. After my grandpa and aunt were killed in a car accident, I've been too scared to learn to drive. Well, guess what? I've seen things walking that I never would have imagined if I were always stuck in a car. I've had trouble holding a "normal," socially-oriented job because I get too freaked out in some social situations. But if I weren't like that, would I ever have had the drive to pursue my art and writing?

Sometimes the very things that we HATE about ourselves...lead us to the person we are meant to be.

Thanks, dear one. (((hugs)))

Amanda (Blake) Fall said...

Natasha... one of these days you won't make me cry. I thought I was done after reading Rowena's amazing post... then I scrolled down and found this. Have you published this anywhere else? More people NEED to hear this...

For so many years, I've been ashamed of parts of me that aren't "normal." For me, they're more personality-based than physical. After my grandpa and aunt were killed in a car accident, I've been too scared to learn to drive. Well, guess what? I've seen things walking that I never would have imagined if I were always stuck in a car. I've had trouble holding a "normal," socially-oriented job because I get too freaked out in some social situations. But if I weren't like that, would I ever have had the drive to pursue my art and writing?

Sometimes the very things that we HATE about ourselves...lead us to the person we are meant to be.

Thanks, dear one. (((hugs)))

Phoenyx Ravenswing said...

Greetings!

Beautiful & inspiring. A wonderful reminder to just be as we are. Some very wise beings have reminded me recently that the entire Universe is a study in expansion and experimentation. No 'perfection' anywhere - and when it finally occurs - the Universe will end, experiment over. So overall, yes, imperfections can be the very happy thing! ;-D

Bright Blessings! :-)
-Bird

lisianblue said...

Wow - I just came to get your e-mail address and what to do I get?
Some wonderful thoughts about imperfection and juggling life! Striving for that perfect - whatever - can be so paralyzing, and make you neurotic! And the funny thing is, there really is no "normal" and yet so many of us have tried so hard to fit into it! I actually quit trying to fit into it very early on in life - but the perfection thing took many many years to overcome!
We are all different "shapes" - thank goodness!
And, it's so wonderful of you to share this, I think the more people realize this, the happier we all will be.