While she grew up to be smart and have a few talents, she also worked very hard to Make Everything Right. She did so not only because she wanted to make her father happy, but because she thought that if she was clever enough to see around corners, thinking everything through thoroughly, then she could troubleshoot where things go wrong and head them off at the pass. And if she never made any mistakes, then she'd never have to hurt.
As you can imagine, things did not go as planned.
Years later, in a moment of pique and pain, she poured her guts out in an online journal format. A girl she sort of knew saw this post, and said something like this:
"Wow! You always seemed so together, and you totally intimidated me. Now I see you're more like me than I ever imagined. I can totally relate to you now that I know you're not perfect!"And thus, a wonderful friendship was born.
This girl—OK, OK, you caught me; it's me—realized that you can't avoid pain in life, and doing so often causes more pain. Also, there's that whole pesky bit about learning through mistakes and all of that. But the best part was finding out that it's our flaws and vulnerabilities that make us interesting. If you have the guts to be vulnerable with people, the rewards are beyond compare. (I'm looking at you, Jenn!)
Single Dad Laughing wrote an amazing post about the Disease Called Perfection. In an effort to continue to tear down those walls and be real, I humbly present a random, jumbled up list of (some of) my flaws and quirks:
- Inappropriate food mixing totally squicks me out. Teasing me for how I compile my plate at Thanksgiving is a family tradition. It's OK for mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and/or turkey to touch. They're like Garanimals of food; they're meant to go together. But for the love of Peanut keep the gravy off the cranberries and the green bean casserole out of the mashed potatoes! UGH! Gross! *shudders*
- I could go days without leaving my house and be perfectly content with grilled cheese sammiches, Diet Coke, a stack of books, and Spotify and/or HBO.
- There are so very many ways in which I am barely a functioning adult: A) I never learned how to budget; my financial education consisted of getting me a checking account when I got my first job, and the sage advice, "Keep more in the account than you spend." I've got a BA in English (just like Princeton!) for a good reason... numbers have never been my strong suit. It's a miracle I haven't claimed bankruptcy at least 3 times already. B) I only make my bed when my parents are coming to visit (or if I think there's the possibility of entertaining gentlemen callers, which is almost as bad as shaving one's legs—kind of the kiss of death for Getting Lucky Mojo); 3) I have an unhealthy relationship with my snooze button. I batter and abuse that thing several times each day. If I had to punch a time clock for work, I'd be docked a lot of money and probably fired after about a month.
- I almost never know what I am doing. I get by on a mix of bullshit, bravado, and sheer force of will.
- I spent way too much of my life hating myself. (I know this isn't unique to me, but I was always shocked to find out the people I thought were really together and amazing felt the same way, so I'm putting it out there.) Fortunately, I've let a lot of this go in recent years. It went from being baggage to being a crutch. I can cope with the former, but the latter? Yeah, not so much.
- I tend to over-think things (and by "things" I mean "everything"). I spend a lot of time up in my head, so I often appear detached or distant.
- I'm crap at keeping in touch. I do OK at Facebook, and try to reach out with PMs and random texting, but for more substantive content? Meh.
- I'm no good at spontaneous plan making. I go to meals by myself a lot because I just sort of forget to call folks. I don't mind dining alone, but it's dumb because I love getting calls from a friend saying, "Hey, I was gonna go do X in 20 minutes. Want to come with?" I try to be a good friend, but I fail. A lot.
I can't guarantee that you'll end up with a friend as awesome as Jenn for your sharing, but you'll know that you're not alone, and that's no small thing.