Felicia was an old friend of mine during our college days. Even though she majored in English Education, I was in Humanities but our paths always crossed at Offrima campus during joint lecture in Phonetics by Prof Gyanki, or while catching a ride back to the hostel. There was something peculiar about her. I took a liking to her immediately. She was younger, very expressive and rather dramatic. Most of my other friends didn’t really take to her, they’d labeled her immediately, “Oh, she talks too much! “Oh, she knows all the guys on campus” ‘Oh she sleeps in the boys hostel” But with all these flaws and hear-say, it just increased my likeness for her. For me, it wasn’t about the veil or web pulled over to cover up an old scar or shame or insecurity. It was more about her picture perfect look and the craziness going on inside of it! Everyone assumed there was something creepy about her! But, she was just imperfect in their perfect world!
One of the favorite gifts at my last birthday was a book title: The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, by researcher Brené. With so much excitement and anticipation, I’d hurriedly flipped through the pages. The message shouted right at me! It was so loud that I quickly closed the book, ran to the basement to hide it. Ah! You know…that feeling you get when you sensed someone is so second-skin to you, it was like that song (Killing me softly with his song) Hmmm, ‘How dare she talk about me! That’s me written all over that page! Then I started to laugh, I guess that was my 30-seconds-of-madness which I was totally entitled to. (lol).
According to Brene Brown; Perfectionism is a shield, a self-created safety net that we think will shut out the bad stuff. I was taken back immediately to my college days and only wished this theory would have worked wonders for all the crazy ideologies we had back then! And even for the present time life’s complexity. I mean tell me, who hasn’t been dealt with a harsh blow in life? Or who has it all together and lives in a glass world? Our idea of perfect world syndrome has driven us to early regret in life, and has made the very element that defines who we really are or what we really are as imperfectionists! Which is now replaced with guilt that comes from shame!, flaws that’s well painted with material things, pain and regret we carry around today under our sleeves as we paint our world in odd colors!
So, does our blemish, or undesirable feature make us imperfect? When we exert energy on things we cannot control, it only empowers the negative. Does that mean that our fallibility and shortcoming defines us as weaklings? When we have the choice to laugh or cry, do we still contemplate it? I work with children and love my job. I sometimes feel overwhelmed and think that I can’t provide everything they deserve or put a smile on their parents’ faces. Once, after a particular challenging evaluation, a child noticed a hole in my blouse and also how my hair was crazy and sticking up and laughed. So I did too. We both ended up rolling on the floor laughing together. It wasn’t a professional perfect moment, but I’m sure I was my most authentic.
Having flaws, being vulnerable, and being true to our self are cornerstones of being real. Some things we will work on to evolve and become a better person. Some things are just part of who we are. Anyone who loves us will love us because of them, not in spite of them.
We are most authentic when we are forced to gradually humbly admit we don’t know everything and we sometimes make mistakes. This makes us much more likely to accept the imperfections in others and love them anyway.
It’s easier for us to be real when we take the pressure of perfection off the table, it is easier to locate a soul mate when words alone cannot express a mutual feeling. It is easier to find true love at the most un-expected places. It is easier to follow a path of openness than a link of pretense and it’s easier to be compassionate and kind when we understand everyone is messy.
In all of us, there is only one crazy “us.” The good, the bad, and the ugly all contribute to our uniqueness. So does our past experience, hurts, and mistakes. It’s not enough to simply learn from the past. We also need to look at our choices to understand what we’re made of, and in that way either improve or understand how certain weaknesses can actually be strengths.
If you made it here this far, you are most definitely authentic! You just have to be you! ‘(Gotta be) and you are soaring higher towards discovering your best qualities. I am encouraging someone to stay true to who they are and what feels intrinsically right to them. We can’t predict the road the journey will take us, especially when the issues of life take over, but we can control our own feet. I am hoping someone will take intentional steps that move them in a direction of staying true to “self”. How we walk might not be perfect, but we can feel confident in where we are headed through God’s grace.
Yours in HOPE as I share Desree’s “You Got To Be”