Today my daughter told her little brother, from the back seat, and projecting into the front seat, “There’s no such thing as perfect, right mom?”
I don’t know what she was asserting this over, but my answer was a long pause, and then, “No, that’s actually a lie we tell kids and one another.”
Everyone knows it’s a lie.
Perfect, in all its opalescence, is definitely real.
We see it in the security reinforced all around us, by the Fibonacci.
I see it in the faces of my children and my dog, every day.
I lock onto it when I walk into my friends’ house, the one that belongs to Larry, Michelle, and Jill–the paint colors, the attention to placement, the constant reworking of what’s already a masterpiece. Even when it’s out of sorts, it’s perfect.
It takes my breath away, the way the light hits the water sometimes, or what it does against the clouds. Most days, actually.
And complete, dew-dropped spiderwebs.
My husband’s laugh.
I’m not even going to start with music…
I can see it, and feel it, in my own work, when it hits the mark, square on. And I can see when it’s off.
You can see when a thing is not perfect.
My children can see it.
But we fear we’ll all be pressure cooked, or that our children will become little perfectionists we forged through any admission that Perfect is real.
We forget perfectionism is the star that burns inside of some, and not others, and though we could actually mess up and plant it, it’s usually already got its hooks into a person in its very own way.
Perfection is Resourceful.
So we cut it off, and we lie. And it stares at us.
What did I say next?
“You know what perfect is.”
“It’s when you see something and all your brain and self says, oooooh, and you walk toward it with both your hands outstretched, or maybe you don’t, but you really, really want to…Right?”
“Yeah,” she said, cool as a cucumber.
Then I said, “It’s when we chase Perfect, and the idea of Perfect, and mark that feeling of Perfect as the only acceptable standard, that it’s a problem. It’s when we are consumed by it–that is when we get into trouble. And when we miss that what we’re doing, and who we are, and how things are in our life are already complete, right, excellent, or even just plain good, then we are really wasting our life.”
After a couple breaths, she said, “So, like when we are working on something, and we keep working on it and working on it, trying to make it all perfect but it’s already really good?”