Perfection/imperfection– it’s trendy to participate in the denial and/or acceptance of either phenomena. Headlines like “Perfect Abs in 30 days”; “How to hang the perfect curtains”; “Top 10 tips for Perfect blogs posts/SEO”; “How to write the perfect book.”
Or the B-side, “How to embrace your imperfect, messy, unconstrained, uncontrolled life.”
Is it any wonder so many of us struggle against our own neurotic insecurities?
I’ve been smothered under that quest for perfection– still struggle with it, but only with my writing– those damn commas. I am ever-wary of the grammar gurus reading through the internet, waving red styluses in moral outrage.
The quest for perfection doesn’t afflict me in any other way. Perfect body, house, children, and marriage? Ain’t nobody got time for all that.
My concern is for everyone trying to maintain a unicorn-rainbow-fart-esque life. What must it be like for those trying to hit that top rung called perfection?
Loaded up with my explorer gear, I began to gather data around my house. Could camouflaged perfection exist in my own home?
This is what I found.
The dishwasher broke last month…so these have no hope for the return to cleanliness without an intervention by someone with thumbs.
On the counter sits the tea party set from last week. At least it’s clean!
A dining room table, painted with a sticky finish immune to all scrubbing methods, covered in the detritus of my life.
A few weeks ago, after the third iteration of moving the same pile of laundry from the bed to the basket, basket to the bed I made a new rule: unfolded laundry would live on the living room couch. Brilliant, really. Now instead of reading on the couch (because it’s covered in clean laundry) I read in bed.
The other seat option in the living room– a chair full of books. Yes, we have several bookshelves.
The lego display table, an uncreative use of an antique vanity that has no other purpose. On this, only the best of the best lego creations. Or a grouping of legless minifigs.
My TARDIS office, intended as a creativity cave from which my ideas and plans enter for protection from the chaos. Then this happened as I prepared for the Listen To Your Mother Show. Have I ever owned so many bobby pins? Yes. Did I ever know the proper usage methods? No. I love youtube.
Perfection, however, remained stubbornly elusive. As far as the camera lens could see there existed something that needed to be cleaned, completed, or contained.
Then I found my perfection.
In the dictionary, where it had been all along.
I wake up in an, we’ll call it unpleasant mood— so most mornings sees my husband doing the breakfast/lunch making thing without me. An all day meeting meant he had to leave early today and I was a pleasant part of this morning’s meal. Pleasant being the important detail in that sentence.
My niece, a few month’s younger than Elliot came over Friday morning, the day after the last LTYM show. My brain was in a funky place as I dragged the dirty laundry downstairs, because one might as well jump feet first into ennui. I noticed a shoebox labeled tea set, forgot the laundry, and hosted a tea party instead. I pulled out my photo album from a long-ago “weekend trip” to London, and showed them both pictures of the Queen from a parade we happened to see. Then? Showing them the real London Bridge. Good times.
On that sticky table, a kindle fire– not mine, my 7 year old saved his extra cash for over a year to buy “something cool”. Remnants of this morning’s homework battle that turned into a series of amusing sentences about the habits of dragons. Two almost-empty cereal boxes from which I created “Cereal Medley”. A quill, because doesn’t everyone have a quill?
Clean laundry. Because it’s clean and in a few days of inattention will be worn and dirty again. Perhaps the lesson is that drawers, and the sorting of objects into them, is a waste of life.
The brown chair full of easy reader books. Every morning I poke and tickle Elliot into that chair after we drop Zach at school, because he HATES learning to read. Loves books– adores being read to– but has, with a stubborn insistence, refused all efforts to be taught. Now I didn’t teach Zach– he figured it out on his own. But he also didn’t have an older sibling reading “hard books”, and messing with his self-confidence.
An ugly brown chair, with creaky springs, that I slept in more nights than I can remember while nursing/soothing two infants.
The Lego table, affectionately referred to as the “Later Table” because it was once a surface to put items to be “dealt with later”. On it sits a Harry Potter set that my husband’s boss gave to the boys. And bits of the Lego Movie set… recreated and modified by my self-proclaimed Master Builders.
Bits of hair things and makeup things that sit in a spot, reminders of how I redecorated myself for a few evenings and that it could, technically, happen again.
I may have failed to find my unicorn, but in the meantime I discovered that I was content [kuhn-tent] with the contents [kon-tents] of my life.