Greg poked his head around the corner of the dining room (that's where my computer and scrapping supplies are currently set up) earlier today to ask if I'd read a post a friend of mine had shared on Facebook. I hadn't but knew I'd see her later so I asked her about it. She started to talk about how she'd found this article all about the disease of "perfection" - basically how 90% of us pretend things are hunky dorey even when we are crying inside. I knew this was something I had to read for myself as it's something I've been struggling with lately. I was blown away! Check it out for yourselves and I think you'll agree that this man has struck a REAL TRUTH!
In a follow up post he asks us all to help with the cure. Basically, he figures that since we have all struggled with different issues our life experiences may help somebody out there who is struggling with similar issues. He asks that we leave a comment on his post describing our struggle and its resolution and then have the "present you" tell the "old you" what you wish you'd known at the time. Does that make sense? I will attempt to do this now ... I may leave this post and come back to it. It's got to be perfect, no? Ha! NO!!! But it does have to be REAL and sometimes (like now when LC won't go to sleep) I can't find the right words because I can't hear my own thoughts!
It would be easiest to say that my biggest trial was the loss of my parents when I was 14. We were all in a car heading to Edmonton to pick up my brother Andrew from the University of Alberta. It was the day before his 18th birthday. Weather was clear. I was excited to be skipping school to head to the Big City. I was excited to see my big brother again! As was my want, I scooched down in the back seat so I could comfortably read a book and doze. The next thing I know I'm lying on a stretcher telling a bunch of strangers who I am, where I live, where we were going and asking them "why can't I move my legs?" This was (I learned later) in the paramedics station in McBride after they cut me out of our crumpled car and before I was medivacced to Prince George for emergency abdominal surgery (ruptured spleen, collapsed lung etc.) Then it was on to Vancouver where I spent a month in Shaughnessy's Spinal Cord Unit - another surgery, many hours of physio - followed by a couple more months of physio at GF Strong Rehab Hospital. I was really lucky and my spinal cord injuries were not permanent. I eventually gained all feeling and (over time) movement. 22 years later I can walk, run, ride a bike, swim, climb a mountain ... anything I put my mind to.
That would be the easy trial to talk about and having written the words it does seem like it should have been the biggest struggle in my life. But right now, at this moment, my biggest struggle is just getting through each day. The 14 year old girl that I was then wouldn't have listened to any words the 37 year old woman I am now would have said. I was SO determined to walk again. I HAD to prove the doctors wrong! I shoved all feelings about the loss of my parents so deep it took years for them to surface (and new ones still pop up even now.) I struggled with depression during my university years to the extent that I left university and moved to Scotland - most of my parents family lives in Scotland or England (we came to Canada when I was 7.) I existed there for a long time before I started LIVING there. Once I started living, I got to know myself through my relations. Today I am so grateful for my time there!
Once I returned to Canada my quest to know myself continued and still continues to this day. THAT is my biggest trial! Who am I? What do I want? Who do I want to be? Usually that question is followed by the words "when you grow up" but I AM grown up! Now what?! Every time I look at my 3 beautiful little girls I wonder what the heck I'm doing? How did I get to be "big enough" to have kids?! How do I teach them everything they need to know to be functional, happy, intelligent, independent, loving, gracious young women when I'm not too sure how to be all those things myself? I guess that's kind of the point though isn't it? We can't be all those things. Not all at the same time anyway. My struggle then is how to feel OK with imperfection.
I liked Dan's comment about the disease of "perfection" not being the same thing as being a "perfectionist". I definitely have perfectionist tendancies - tempered with a great deal of laziness! I've been seeing a therapist for a couple months now and I must say that even though it doesn't neccessarily feel like we talk about super deep issues, I feel more at peace. I think just facing my imperfections ... no, admitting that I HAVE imperfections, is a major contributor to this new inner calmness. I don't find myself yelling at the girls as frequently. I find I am able to push down the feelings of frustration when Greg leaves dishes undone or newspapers on the ottoman. Our marriage, my job as Stay-at-Home Mom is not a competition to see who can do the most, be the best, get the most accolades from the kids, our parents, our friends or each other. It's a team effort to raise 3 girls to womanhood, to maintain a home in a manner that is healthy, sanitary and makes us proud. We are both doing the best we can and that's all anyone can ask. Period.
I think I got a little off topic - it's now almost midnight so I'm not even sure if this makes sense any more!! I also realize that I am baring my soul to the world but since it's basically my family who reads my blog anyway, I think it's safe! Check out the link below to follow up blog about the cure for Perfection.
Remember to keep it real. I sure will!