When Not Being Perfect is Perfect
by Patti Pitcher, co-founder of Isabella
I would love to say that I am a thoroughly organized person with delicately scented sheets and matching pillowcases. I would love to think that I exercise every day, eat grapefruit for breakfast with a fluted spoon and refrain from sweets except on special occasions. That I know when enough is enough and I stop. That I remember to use up the leftovers and things seldom rot in my fridge. That my children keep their rooms tidy and I remember to wash their sheets every Friday. That I get enough sleep and that I find time every day to be alone with each of my four children. I would love to know that my home is decorated in such a way that guests know when and where to sit and that the children feel at home but don’t dominate the space. I would love to say I sit quietly with a cup of tea every afternoon at four to replenish my spirits before I begin to make the evening meal. But to say these things would be false, for I know they aren't true. Oh, some of them are true some of the time. But none of them are true all the time.
And to tell the real truth, I could never be me if lived so neatly. I am one of those people who is rather messy on the edges. I get most things done well enough but I seldom take the time to get all things done as well as I'd like. And I resolve again and again to slow down, to do less and do better. But each resolve slips away over time and the truth is I kind of like messes. I like having a counter in my kitchen that is continually piled with works in progress. I like not even trying to be perfect. I can't even pretend anymore. I have piles of clean laundry and would rather let my kids keep a game going for days than see the living room floor every night. I lose my keys regularly and forget things at the store. Lists drive me crazy and I love how spontaneous I am simply because I make so many mistakes. Continually adaptive, that's me. I don't really want other people to be like me -- the world would probably fall apart. I am just tired of feeling as if I need to respond to the cultural imperative to be perfect by changing who I am. Can't we all just be perfect, exactly as we are? The world certainly needs all types of people. If my husband weren't so organized, who would make sure the oil got changed, but then if I weren't so able to start and stop projects, who would meet the children's ever changing, minute-to-minute needs?
It has taken me a long time to get to the point where I can appreciate the things I can do, rather than only noticing where I don't measure up to some unbelievably harsh standard of perfection. Time has taught me again and again that we are all here for our own particular reasons and that we are given what we need (in terms of talents and experience) to manifest our gifts on Earth. By allowing myself to be myself, with less guilt and more acceptance, I am learning also to bring that outlook to my relationships with others. The people I love are no longer people who need my help in becoming sterling citizens of the perfect world; but rather they are amazing beings exactly as they are. Amazing precisely because they are human and therefore full of incongruency. For somehow, it is in the meeting of our incongruencies that we grow and learn and we all become finer expressions of our true selves.