This week’s special on DTWB: Perfection
How often do we strive for something, do we hope for something, do we work towards something, convincing ourselves the whole time that if this would just happen, everything would be perfect. We spend a lifetime trying to catch up with perfection but often fall short.
As a writer, I do it plenty. I read numbers and page views and comments way too often as if the quality of my writing is based on numbers. I ride myself about getting published on a certain site. And then when I get published on that site, I hound myself about getting more than one piece published. If I publish several pieces, then I get on myself about getting paid. And on and on this perception of perfect goes. As a mom, I do it daily. If I have to send an email or make breakfast and give the kids a video to watch, I feel terrible because wouldn’t perfect moms be playing with their children? I get frustrated and yell and then feel bad about it because perfect moms don’t get mad.
Now, this week, I’m entering a new phase. I took an a long-term sub position in a middle school English class which means I will be teaching, writing, and being a mom for the next 3 months. Essentially, this means I will have 3 full-time gigs at once. Oh, joy. What will this look like? What will planning, teaching, grading, writing, editing, posting, feeding, bathing, and playing look like? I can’t imagine but I know this, I know it won’t look perfect. It won’t be anywhere near that.
I’ll probably lose my temper with Husband and tell the kids more often than before that Mommy can’t have a dance party right now because she’s writing. That will be followed by lots of guilt. I will definitely give myself a ton of crap for spending more time teaching, giving me much less time to write. I will think more about playing with my kids than planning lessons. I will do none of these things perfectly.
And maybe this imperfect time is actually the perfect time to learn the perfect lesson: that perfection is fleeting and fickle. Even when you think you’ve got it securely grounded under your feet, perfection changes. My meaning of it today, isn’t the same meaning it will be tomorrow. So getting mad at myself for not being perfect is as valuable as being angry at myself for never having seen a unicorn. How could I blame myself for something that doesn’t exist? Perfection is a sneaky, unreachable rat bastard. It runs ahead. It changes course. And maybe when I accept that I will never catch it, I’ll stop trying to race against it.