Who Wants To Be Perfect Anyways?

Little kids always idealize the future.  They dream big– no holds barred.

When I was in 4th grade I distinctly remember thinking that by high school I would be a cheerleader, feel comfortable wearing miniskirts, and finally have the red hair I had always dreamed of.  By 6th grade I knew I would graduate high school and be an amazing triple threat and the most in-demand actor on Broadway.  8th grade me knew that I would have to put in a lot of hours, but that I would eventually dance with a major company in New York– living in dingy conditions would be a badge of honor for my hard work.  Graduating high school I knew I would go to Columbia, work hard and have the most intellectual conversations, and find a way to both change the world and have a perfect GPA come graduation.

Emphasis here goes on knew.  There wasn't a question in my mind that these goals would be fully attainable.

Having big dreams is one of the most important keys to success.  But when life swerves to the left of those dreams, or you discover you look horrible with red hair– you have to be able to adjust and reassess without self judgement.  But it's hard to let go of your dreams; it's hard to tell your friends and family that you're not perfect and don't have everything figured out.  Especially when it seems like you're the only one failing to live up to the imaginary and arbitrary "standards."

We only put on social media what we want people to see.  Our web presence is a perfectly curated snapshot of our lives.  We say we're working for a magazine, pretending like we get to write all day rather than just get coffee.  We post smiling selfies with our partners during rocky times.  Life is all peaches and cream and it seems like the whole world is out there kicking ass while we sit on our beds, trying to figure out what our dreams are now and how we can realistically work towards them.

Having a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is important, but so is remembering that it's okay if you don't ever get there.  In all likelihood, you'll have to make compromises and sacrifices to reach the end.  And by the time you're there, you have a new rainbow path to follow.  The process of learning and growing never ends.  And if you think that perfection is attainable you're only going to end up disappointing yourself and not having learned anything along the way.

But I have a secret for you, one I think I might finally have understood just today:  everyone knows you're not perfect.  And even better than that– no one expects you to be.  In fact, everyone is sitting around waiting to find out that you're human too.  Because if you admit your imperfections, that takes the pressure off of everyone.

So here's the challenge that was put to me, and I'm putting it to all of you out there as well.  Let's just be us.  Throw all of your expectations of perfection out of the window.  I'll just be Madysen and you'll just be you.  Let's be ourselves because that's all that matters.  I'll admit that I make a hell of a lot of mistakes, feel shy and don't know what to say when I meet new people, let my mind and emotions run away with overthinking every situation, like to take selfies even though I pretend not to, and will eat an entire pint of Ben and Jerry's for lunch more often than my arteries should be able to live through.  And I hazard to guess that you probably do the exact same things, and we both feel better knowing that it's not something wrong or messed up in our own heads.

Perfection is simply not a part of being human.  To be human is to acknowledge your imperfections and accept them without beating yourself up.  You aren't a failure if you did something to upset a friend or partner.  You can still bounce back from a semester of terrible grades.  The only way to measure your worth as a person is how secure you are that despite  your faults, you have incredible potential.  In fact, you may only be able to reach that potential because you know that you have room to grow.

So I'll be me and you can be you without a pretense of perfection.  We'll figure things out as we go and we won't beat ourselves up for our mistakes.  We'll have each others backs and remind each other that we not only need to forgive ourselves, but embrace and love those imperfections in order to grow.  Let's admit that we're all just floundering and trying to understand what's happening.

It's so much more fun than being perfect anyways.


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Meet The Author

I'm Madysen, born and raised in Nebraska but now living out my dreams in New York City. I moved here to go to Columbia, but living in New York has become so much more to me. This blog is a space where I can share my experiences of reconciling my midwestern upbringing with the life I live in the city. But even bigger than that, this blog serves as a space where I can try to understand where I fit into the larger social world, where I want to go in life, and how I want to go about pursuing all of these endeavors.

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