Perfect was just a word in the Dictionary until one day, at the tender age of 10, I watched my friend smirk at me because he got a 41/50, and I— a 39.
I went home a little ticked off but satisfied with myself. When I reached, my mother asked me how much had I scored and I told her.
I had nothing to lie about, right?
She nodded and gave me a smile of encouragement. She even patted my back and said we’d go for ice-cream tonight, that a celebration was due.
But then she did something, which I truly wish she hadn’t.
She asked me about my friend’s marks.
I told her and that was that. Except that it wasn’t. It was then that I realised, that it mattered. How much my friend scored was also important.
How else can we judge who is better? It did not feel right but as I saw things around me more intricately, the authenticity of my little theory began to enlarge in my mind.
I figured that to be good or better or best was not enough because there would ALWAYS be another friend in the crowd of 7 billion.
So I struggled, subconsciously, like all those around me, to be perfect at what I was doing.
It was harmless I told myself. It was doing no damage and getting me exactly what I wanted to achieve.
Except that it wasn’t.
It was building a greed, a kind of perpetual starvation for the best. And even that was all right until the moment I realised that in the process of wanting to get it PERFECT, we never learned to accept that sometimes, we might deserve less. That sometimes we have stupid, unrealistic expectations. That sometimes a kick is necessary for the big leap.
If only we were taught to think a little, right?
It took a lot of time to understand that Perfect was just a word, not a measure of my handwork. Perfect was how other people forced you to see yourself. Perfect was a figurative word used by those who were incapable of anything more. Perfect was the poison you couldn’t suck out. Perfect was a disease without an approved vaccination. Perfect was the dream I saw in my Mother’s eyes and the pride my Father carried around. Perfect was a motto loaded with negativity. Perfect was a murderer. It murdered thought and patience, it pushed aside self-worth and appreciation. Perfect became jealousy and hatred and frustration when it could have simply been a word in my English essay.
Above all, I was far too dynamic to fit into the word ‘Perfect’. I just didn’t know that.
If only our perception would have evolved instead of the word ‘Perfect’, we wouldn’t have so many people talking about how imperfection is beauty.