Thursday, January 26, 2012

Perfect Doesn't Exist

**Get geeky: Shot on a Contax 645, 80mm 2.0 lens at 2.0 with Kodak Portra 400 Film **

As I lay in bed this morning, contemplating what I would blog about today, my mind drifted to a lot of different topics that have been brewing lately. There is so much I want to share. I got up, I checked my email, and my answer was there in a comment from Becky. Becky sent me a link to this beautiful article on perfection. I loved reading the article. I agree with so very much contained in it.

My mind thought back to almost five years ago to another article I came across when cleaning out my basement. The article is titled, What Does it Mean to Be Perfect? Reading this article five years ago was life changing for me. I recently shared this same article with a friend struggling with perfectionism. I could see myself so clearly in this person...well, I could see the 'before reading the article Kim' in this person. It made me so sad. When I say this article changed me, that is almost an understatement.

Growing up, I always tried my best to be perfect. I struggled deeply with Perfectionism problems. If I wasn't perfect in my home, in my grades, in my driving record, in my friendships, I would sink into a deep, deep depression. Perfectionism ate up my entire teenage experience with feelings of self doubt and unworthiness. Perfectionism destroyed many years of happiness between my husband and myself. Almost seven years of our marriage were wasted because I couldn't be perfect. I pushed my husband away because I was afraid if I wasn't a perfect wife to him I would fail. The irony is, I failed in my marriage because I believed I wasn't worthy of being loved by him because I couldn't be pretty enough, or skinny enough, or keep the house clean enough. None of these things were piled on me by Flavio. Not. One. I put it all upon myself. All of it. I was to blame.

I can remember distinctly reading this article. I was sitting cross legged on the basement floor, facing the gray wall and the scarlet colored bin of magazines was right in front of me. I can clearly see the magazine open on my lap. I can remember reading the words, and seeing the table describing "Doing Your Best" and "Perfectionism". It was then that I realized, at the tender age of 25 that I had messed up my entire life thus far. I had quite literally f***** up my life to that point. I put that word, because quite literally that is what I had done. I had wasted so much of myself by being afraid of messing up, or trying and not ever being satisfied with what I had accomplished because it wasn't perfect. The weight I had put upon myself and my shoulders was unbearable. I remember that day with so much clarity. I can feel it. I can hear the sound of my heart beating. It was that day I decided that I would never struggle with Perfectionism ever again. I would never fall into that trap again.

That day I set about trying to make things right in my marriage. I tried to fix all that I had done wrong. I apologized deeply and sincerely to my husband. I tried from that day forward to be a better mother, not a perfect mother, but just try to be the best me I could without all of the other stuff getting in the way. I changed that day. Not perfectly...but I changed in small ways, trying always to love myself. It wasn't easy, it still isn't easy, but I am much happier for it. I no longer try to be perfect. It is a much better way to live, a much easier way of life.

The sad thing? My marriage had deteriorated so much by that time, that my apologies were not enough to fix it. That part wasn't my fault. That is what is so beautiful about life...we each bestow within us the ability to fix ourselves, to be our own best, no one can make us do it, we have to decide on our own who we will be, who we will forgive, how we will move forward.

Sadly, it would take another five years to even reach a rock bottom in my marriage. It took an affair, a separation, a very near divorce only weeks ago to hit that bottom and find something to push off from and even attempt to swim back upward. Right now, we are 1/100th of the way back up from that terrible and painful bottom. It will be a long, tiring, excruciating journey, but we are finally back on this journey together.

Sometimes the journey is really hard. It is really ugly. Sometimes I feel so alone. I am thankful I no longer carry the weight of trying to be perfect. If I did, it would make this journey so much harder and I guarantee I would fail miserably, or I would have failed long, long ago.

If any of you out there are struggling with Perfectionism, I encourage you to look inside yourself and really see what you can let go, what you need to keep striving for, and make your lives better. I promise it will be one of the most freeing experiences of your life. I promise you will come to know yourself in a way you never knew was possible, and in the process you will actually become better than you ever imagined.


moosh in indy. said...

And trust the other people around you to love you with their whole heart no matter what, which is a lot to ask after so much hurt.

Ashley said...

I completely understand.

I'm going to blog today about my lessons in failure. You're loved and wonderful and make the world a much better place just by being you.

How Sesame Street is that?!

Amelia said...

Yep. What you said. I'm a recovering perfectionist too. FWIW, you totally had me fooled; until you started opening up and blogging about it, I totally thought you were perfect. You were that person, who I looked at and thought, "How in the... does she do it all?"

Now I remind myself (daily, sometimes hourly) that perfection is a journey, AND a destination. That I am a work in progress, and so is everyone else. That "done" is better than "perfect", and that good enough IS sometimes good enough.

Thanks for your honesty in every blog post. Love you.

JaNean said...

I can't tell you how much I needed this today Kim. I have been thinking about all the things I want to do better and even got a little upset at Kenny for not wanting to be better at anything. He reminded me about the principle of 'line upon line' and I've been trying my best to remember that truly is Gods plan.
Thanks for sharing the best and the worst of you. And tell Flavio thanks too for letting you share the best and worst of him. The world is a better place because of you both.
All my Love,

Kristina P. said...

I love you and miss you. Wish I got to see your face tonight.

mrs. r said...

Thankful you are not a perfectionist any longer. You wouldn't be able to stand me if you were. LOL

So proud of you and The Flav for getting that 1/100! I know it's been a painful battle because it has been painful for us as your friends to watch you guys go through. I cannot imagine how you guys must feel.

But this I do know: love ya.


Becky Rose said...

so glad what I sent helps! It's funny, I emailed a few friends about a situation I could face in a month or so asking for advice. A friend from HS has lost a lot of weight- a lot! She's a size 4 and NO ONE IN HER FAMILY IS A SIZE 4. why would you want to maintain that? Anyway, she has a temple marriage, 2 kids, is skinny and guess what I have. 2 dogs, a failed marriage,no kids, debt because of my ex that will take me 5 years to pay off. It's VERY likely that I will not see any $ from him, I'm the fattest I've ever been, and my next birthday will be 40. What do have to show for my life- seems like not much. So do I go see her and compare lives? I don't really want to! I need to read these perfection articles myself!

I sure hope the best for you in your marriage! In another 5 years it will be a different story- a happy one! (maybe sooner too)

Lechelle said...
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