This is where my head was in April of 2011…an oldie but goodie:
I am not perfect. And to me it’s so much easier to like myself because I’m not. What is perfect? It’s to be without flaws, and none of us are flawless. So perfection is just an illusion. Perfection is something we create in our minds based on what we think others would like or expect. And what we would like or expect of ourselves is what we would seek in others, right? The fact of the matter is we all have cracks in our veneer, and I’m back on the path to embracing mine.
You know those book cases you buy that have the hard shell on the outside but inside it’s just particle board? Little by little, with each move and bump and spill that shell cracks or peels and the material underneath begins to swell and warp. This book shelf is considered somewhat disposable. Sure, occasionally we are able to use that college book case decades after you graduated. Sometimes it holds up to the wear and tear. It still doesn’t have much character though.
I want to be sure the essence of what I’m made of is pure. Solid, strong, quality stuff. We all have an outer layer that we show the world around us. We see someone in line at the grocery store and we can tell a story in our heads as to who they are…what those superficial elements of their life may be…tennis player, busy mom, landscaper, high school basketball player. But those veneers can’t really express what we’re made of. Our core, the deep and complex substance that makes us each individuals, beautifully unique, cannot be seen from the outer layer we move through life in.
My vulnerabilities, my weaknesses, they make me who I am. But for every soft spot I have that might make me lose it all together I’ve got 3 hard-as-nails strengths that will prevent that from happening. My weaknesses show me the areas where I can grow. That’s the stuff I’m working on. That is the work of life. The cracks in my veneer? I celebrate them. They’re the spots where my true self peeks through, the real me that I’m not afraid to show the world. I’d rather spend my energy working on the core stuff then to expend it all trying to maintain a glossy finish. If we spend too much time doing that then before we know it, we’re just candy coated particle board.
Don’t get me wrong, I like living in a world where there is so much that is pleasing to my eye. I love costume jewelry and Banana Republic pants (because they’re the only ones that make my butt look good) and I adore my hair stylist who knows that I like to keep it funky (anything that doesn’t look too suburban mom-ish). I could say I go to the gym just for the cardiovascular benefits. And I like to sit at the coffee shop and watch the people come in and out, pretending I know what their life might be like. That’s really just my creative imagination. I’m probably making up stories for them that solve the deeper questions I ask about myself. I fix my own flaws in the stories I create about other people. We all do it. We’re human. But deep down we all are made of richer, more gorgeous stuff than can ever be seen by the eye. And I like to think the little scratches on my surface, my imperfections–they sometimes show through, right along with the surface dings and love handles. And maybe they make someone else feel okay with the same thing in themselves. Maybe I can help someone relax enough to see that it’s those things that make us beautiful.
That’s what I’m working on.
peace, love, and antique furniture…