As long as I can remember, I have always been trying to improve something about myself. From trying to control my frizzy hair to being better at parties (I am VERY introverted). From being more productive to being better at putting myself out there.
You name it and I have already worked on it (or at least, attempted to).
There was always a distinct sense of lack. Of not measuring up. I had to work on my shortcomings, to fix my flaws and insecurities. It would only be then that my life as I wanted, my true life would begin, without the flawed me hindering everything.
So one night, several months ago – on a night where it felt like my whole life was collapsing due to my ineptitude, I made a list. A list of everything I needed to improve about myself – to save my life, to save me.
Saying I was overwhelmed would have been putting it lightly. Where would I start? How would I start? What would I have to do?
I started thinking again about flaws and cracks recently when my friend gifted me a bowl that she had made. It is not perfectly round. The colour is patchy. Not up to the standard of the absolute ‘perfection’ of mass-produced bowls.
But WHO CARES? It’s a bowl. At the end of the day, it holds your soup / noodles / dip without any leaks. It IS a PERFECT bowl.
Maria Toorpakai, the international squash player who originated from a village in Pakistan that forbade girls to play sports (her story), says:
“Fear is taught. You are born free. You are born brave.”
And so is perfection.
Perfection is taught – who you need to be, what you need to be.
By society. By your parents. By your teachers. And you spend your whole life absorbing it and trying to fit your life around it.
So what did I do on the night of the monumental fix-it list?
I gave up.
Looking back, that was the sanest response anyone could have. But it didn’t come from a sane place. It came from a state of helplessness.
I just didn’t know what to do. But as the days when by … as I fixated less on fixing myself, something started to shift slowly.
Yes, nothing about me was perfect. But I started questioning what I thought were flaws in the first place and the concept that I had to punish myself for not being better at getting rid of them.
If my life was a movie, this would have been the moment when I transcended and became awash with a sense of my own exquisite perfection.
But it isn’t.
I didn’t taste perfection. But I tasted freedom.
And who knew that was exactly what I needed?