The price of perfection
And the reality of it is none of us are.
The perfect daughter
Perfect mother, employer, Christian, church goer, shopper, cooker, house cleaner, sailor, writer, student, gamer…
And the list goes on.
What does this insane quest accomplish?
Divorce, anxiety, stress, debt, anorexia, bulimia, obesity, avoidism, alcoholism, shopaholics, hoarders, stalkers, social outcasts, imperfect parents.
Before parenting got all new-age and “don’t tell your child they’re perfect”. That was the goal. Practice made perfection. And if you couldn’t accomplish it, Practice!! Practice harder and if that didn’t work? You’re a failure.
“Oh you’re not a failure, But you didn’t pass this class. Your son is worse than you were. You have a dead end job. You could be so much more if you applied yourself.”
The first five words of that mean nothing. All the emphasis power lies in that sixth word that follows.
As the stress of the holidays recedes and the bank account cringes, my anxiety has not decreased. In my quest for the some odd decades to become this model of perfection I have utterly lost myself.
In the quest of being the perfect daughter I have gone through the motion of making friends with the inability to keep them. They were the wrong kind, dirty, came from the wrong part of town, their parents weren’t the ‘right’ people, they were the wrong race, gender…
My choice in friends was never good enough. In my need to make up for this deficiency I became super obedient, attempting to live through my siblings. See I did no wrong, it was them! Of course in trying to please I said whatever would make people happy. Knowing that if I lied and was found out it would be detrimental to my sanity. Ensuing in hours of lectures all about everything I had done wrong my entire life, except for what I had lied about.
I was not the right type of daughter. I wanted to read, not go out. I wanted to draw, to stitch, to (gasp) crochet. Not run up and down. As soon as I was old enough I sought refuge in the library. Hours upon hours of peace. To this day I still find solace going to a library or book store by myself.
And I really wasn’t a perfect child. I lied, I didn’t do my chores, and I skipped school. Never broke a law and just pissed off my stepmother by breathing. I still do, though now we manage a sense of leave and let be, unless I am the trapped audience to listen how everyone else is having issues and she has to again go expose and ‘fix’ the situation.
But I cannot say too many bad things, or any really, she brought me the papers I needed to file for my first divorce. Spent a month with me after my son was born, flew down to get him so I wouldn’t have to drive the 48 hours from where I lived having just accomplished my second divorce.
I yet again have lived in the same town- my friends were never good enough. No there wasn’t anyone who could watch my son. What relationships were started between me and my sisters were quickly squashed by lectures of how we weren’t making choices that were approved of or…
Hello? I had a one year old, was going to church, going to school full time, and working part time. I had earned those hours of gaming. Which were to be ripped away a few years later. I am just now getting back to them.
And this isn’t to rant or to rave.
I don’t lie. Well I don’t. I just refrain from discussing certain topics with people for my own sanity.
But the past 13 years have been spent (literally) buying the “right” items, the wrong car, the wrong schooling, surgery that was required. (Yes I had to do something. Surgery was one of those tradeoffs to quit school but was still a betterment of myself. And a necessity in order to live a healthy life style.)
Never mind in my quest to be this perfectly pleasing person I have spent well outside of my means because when I hear a suggestion I don’t necessarily recognize it as such, but as an order to fix whatever the perceive offense was.
And I have learned nothing. I strive for this perfection that does not exist. Except in the magazines, in the movies, in the expectations of church. If I hear that life is a journey not a destination I may scream. I really may.
And in reaching this sad but true check on reality, I am not perfect. I will not magically grow taller; the weight will not go away. Some family members will never change. My job will not function how I view it needs to.
That list goes on.
Sooo… My books may never sell. But I am writing. I am writer in spite of what I have been told the last odd decades. I do have a quirky personality and that is okay. I don’t have to have a million friends. But I can be kind and respectful to people I know and meet.
The kindness that is there hiding I let it out. I encourage other fledgling writers. I may not have an agent but we are all trying to share our story and slowly week by week, day by day, mine is being told.
So 2015 is the year that I try to reaffirm that I am good enough as me. And set out to accomplish my goals. I’ve done them once. I can do it again. GO ME!!