I hate the word “perfect.”
I hate it because for so long that’s what I tried to be. I tried to be that person who wouldn’t falter. The kind of person who walked in a straight line. That person who wanted perfect grades and would spend so long in the mirror making sure not a hair was out of place or any bit of makeup on me was smudged. Everything had to be in order or else it wasn’t okay.
But over time I came to realize that living that way isn’t only unhealthy, it’s pretty impossible. Because sometimes even when you try your best to do everything right, life has a way of coming in and messing it up. Sometimes you find yourself staring at a fork in the road and your straight line you tried so hard to keep up with has given you options you didn’t think you’d have to choose between.
Sometimes you can study so hard for something, only to end up failing and setting you back. Sometimes your hair gets messed up from raking your hands through it because your anxiety is through the roof. Sometimes your makeup gets smudged from crying so hard over someone that didn’t deserve your tears, even though you finally thought you were strong enough to let them go.
Life can be complicated. Sometimes you don’t have control over every single thing. We want to feel like we have everything figured out and not out of order because it makes us feel like we can’t fail. We don’t want to get the thought in our heads that everything could come crashing down, because then we’re left contemplating every decision we ever made, always thinking how if we had done something different, maybe something in our life would’ve ended up different than it is now.
We think so much of the “What if?” instead of the “Why not?” mentality. It’s like we’re so afraid to make a mistake, because then we feel like we’re tainted and everyone will judge us for what we did wrong.
I’ve come to learn that no matter how hard I try to go through life smoothly, there’s always going to be bumps along the way. Sometimes it’s my fault. I’ll admit to doing things knowing that they were only going to end up turning out badly. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone out the night before a big exam because I wanted to hangout with my friends. Maybe I shouldn’t have had that extra drink, because then I wouldn’t have woken up the next day nursing a hangover. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone back to that person again, because I knew what the outcome would end up being despite thinking things could be different this time.
But I’m not afraid to fail or mess up. I’m not going to spend my life going through every bad decision I’ve made when I can instead take what I learned from it and move on. I think if I went through life walking on thin ice with the fear of it cracking under me, I would always be on edge. I needed to learn that it’s okay if I drown as long as I know I can swim my way back up.
Everything I have learned in life has been a lesson. I don’t regret anything I went through because it got me to where I am today. If my past has taught me anything, it’s that life goes on, and as much as I’d like to dwell on things, it won’t change anything. The only thing I can do is improve on my present and take what I’ve learned to make my future worth it.
We care too much about our faults instead of accepting the inevitable outcome and moving on. We need to stop being so hard on ourselves. We need to stop preaching, “I’ll never make the same mistake twice,” because that’s not always how it goes. And maybe you’ll keep making the same mistake over and over again until you learned your lesson, but that’s not someone’s right to decide that for you. It’s up to you to know when enough is enough. It’s up to you to finally start to see clearly the pattern you’ve gotten yourself into and know that it is no longer serving you anything but negative feelings. And you will see it, and you will learn that your mistakes do not define you. Maybe you won’t forget what you did wrong, but you can forgive yourself.
Because at the end of the day, we’re human and we’re not perfect. But you know what? I’m so glad I’m not perfect. It’s overrated, if you ask me.