Perfection: The quality or condition of being perfect
A few days ago I found a slim notebook with the words Summer 2018 scrawled across the cover. Before I even cracked the cover I knew exactly what was inside. There was one page with four lines written.
Wear more makeup
Update social media
That was my action plan for the Summer of 2018. I wanted to go back to school and be more like the other girls. I wanted fit in. I wanted to be as perfect as them.
Like every other kid in high school I felt uncomfortable in my skin. All I could see was my insecurities of my body.
- Nose was too big
- Acne and acne scars
- Not perfectly straight teeth
- Off kilter smile
- Deep lines under my eyes
- Round face
- Yellowish skin tone
- Didn’t seem as skinny
This was the summer before my first year of college. I figured if I made myself more like other girls that I would be able to make friends. Lots of times on campus you see so many people. The ones that stood out were the skinny and seemly perfect girls.
Plot twist: Didn’t work out as planned.
I told my best friend of my plan. His response?
Ever consider you’re fine the way you look already?
That was a rare compliment from me.
The response gave me second thoughts. I didn’t want to pretend to be someone I wasn’t, so I ditched the plan. Instead I focused on enjoying my summer.
That was the best thing I could have done. During the summer I made new friends and two of them I can text whenever. Best of all they like me for me. Not for the way I look. One of them is very open and honest with me about her body image. Not to fish for compliments but because she trusts me to understand and I know I can do the same with her.
The funny thing is, everything thing she mentions I don’t see. I just see my friend and she’s beautiful the way she is.
The only change I made that summer was updating my social media. It was just deleting photos that I didn’t care for anymore, a small thing to move on. Something for me, not for a goal of perfection.
I came to the realization that no matter how hard I try, I will never look perfect. We all have flaws. Most of them only you see.
So this is the new list of how I’m trying to see my insecurities.
- Nose too big- it’s perfect for my face
- Acne and acne scars- they will pass
- Not perfectly straight teeth- it’s so much better than they were
- Off kilter smile- no one cares, it’s my smile
- Deep lines under eyes- once again…no one cares
- Round face- I mean…it’s a face shape.
- Yellowish skin tone- I’m going to blame the lighting
- Not skinny enough- I’m healthy and that’s what matters.
Trying to be perfect led me down wrong paths. I didn’t eat much at all my second semester of college to try to lose weight and went to the gym a lot even though I didn’t eat enough. I burned out the same semester because I overworked myself. I didn’t end up with the results I wanted.
I thought I was aiming for the goal of being the perfect daughter for my parents. Good grades, look like the ideal of healthy and an art major. Here’s the thing. Two of those things were hard for me. I was fine with grades. But I didn’t know what the ideal of healthy looked like, or at least for me. As for art, I liked what I did on my own. Being in art school frustrated me and took away the joy of creating. Something had to change.
And it did. I’m perfectly imperfect. We all are. I’m pretty dang good at being me. Maybe I wasn’t the best at swimming but I improved. I dropped the art major but I found one I’m beyond excited to pursue. I’m great at forcing myself to sit and write everyday. I’m really good at putting in time for practicing Latin, a language I’m trying to teach myself. Not to mention bragging of my 92 day streak of practicing everyday. I can make people smile and laugh. It turns out deleting Instagram as a whole made it easier not to compare myself. I’m perfect at being me. You’re perfect at being you. That perfection we can achieve.
Originally published 5/8/2020