We’re all dogs chasing after our tails, running after something we’ll never find
I used to constantly run after perfection myself and, ironically so, it didn’t help me lose weight – it just made me unhappier. Because every time I’d get a little closer, insecurities and frustrations poured in that made it seem all the more further. An endless circle of running, frustration, defeat and pity parties that eventually led me to the lowest point in my life. I wanted to be like those skinny, perfect girls I stalked on Instagram, who had the perfect lives & relationships. I was convinced that you had to be skinny to deserve a life like that.
Today I am the furthest I’ve ever been from being skinny. I am also the furthest I’ve ever been from being unhappy. I stopped chasing perfection when I realised that: A. I doesn’t exist and B. If it did and we’d all be perfect, it would be one hell of a boring world. Those girls on Instagram whose life you’re so envious of, they’re not perfect and, sadly, most of them are not really happy either. They’re mostly tired from having to make it look like their life is perfect all the damn time.
I think wanting to be perfect has a lot to do with our need for suffering.
We love complaining & we’re addicted to our own pain. I’ve been blessed with people in my life who gave me several slaps over the wrist to remind me that I choose to live in my own made up dramas. One of them was Antonia Teaha, who used to really fucking annoy me in the beginning. Whenever I’d try to complain about something she’d twist it so and put a different light on it so that it didn’t really seem like much of a problem at all. I hated it. I thought she minimised my feelings and that she was belittling me all together. Now I look back and I am so, so beyond grateful that someone like her showed up, who proved to me that it’s up to me whether I choose to whine about something or don’t give it power over me. And that’s the key – words, people, situations, all the little dramas we indulge in – can only hurt is if we allow them.
I bet you all have those people in your life who only talk about the good stuff. And they annoy the hell out of you. You’d much rather hang with a friend you can commiserate with about how imperfect your life is, right? Have you ever tried to switch teams? Let’s play a game. I dare you to only talk about the good things in your life for one week. Let’s see how it all turns out.
Most of our pain is generated by our expectations. You expect to look in a certain way, you expect a person to react in a certain way & you expect your life to work out in a certain way. If they don’t happen according to your best laid out plans, you’ll suffer. The most important lesson I learned while chasing perfection was when I realised that amid my chase, I forgot to live my life. Every single thing I did was a check box that when achieved, it was never truly celebrated, I just moved on to the next one. And the next one. And so on, all the while choosing to feel frustrated that I didn’t check them fast enough, instead of celebrating and being proud of myself for checking any at all.
I used to think that we get to define our own perfection, but today I strongly believe that any kind of perfection, even self determined, is damaging. Because it implies having a certain standard, or expectation and it can still bring a lot of unhappiness. If you learn to live life without expectations and just truly celebrate every good thing that comes along, you’ll be much happier. It’s an easy thing to say, yet it’s, of course, a little harder to practice what you preach. I still have a lot of work to do in this area, especially when it comes to my expectations from other people and from my career.
When it comes to me & my body, however, I made peace with myself. I vowed to no longer hold myself at a certain standard, whether we’re talking about what I look like or how much I work. I learned to respect myself, to listen to my body and to take as much time for myself as I need. No achievement in the world is worth it if you’re exhausted and unhappy. I am #imperfect and I love myself this way.
The #IMPERFECT sweater
Speaking of expectations and perfection, I have a confession to make: I haven’t worn a sweater in an outfit I’d also leave the house with in many years. Unless it was the super fluffy oversized kind that would basically swallow you whole. Why? Because I thought they made me look fat. Because they’d never look perfect. And that’s stupid, because fluffy sweaters are a gift from divinity and their fluffy holiness should be treated as such. They are comfortable & warm and I had to either freeze during winter or devise a system of a million layers to somehow keep myself warm. But not anymore. I will never sacrifice my comfort again out of fear that someone will think I’m not good enough.
One of the very few things in life I feel confident to hold at high standards are the sweaters I’m wearing. Besides the messages, which I am a sucker for, they are ethically produced in Romania. Which means that the woman behind Ami Amalia chose to build a business in our country, hire locals and produce everything here. Unlike most brands who choose to produce their items in countries such as Bangladesh, since it’s a lot cheaper.
I’ll let Amalia tell more:
“In the world of mass retail, product pollution, fast and unsustainable fashion, we dreamt of a sustainable, slow fashion, boutique brand built on responsibility and respect for the resources and people involved in the lifecycle of our knitwear. In turn, our customers are people who love natural yarns, colour and share the same values.
We believe that most of us would think twice about buying cheap clothes if we knew what made that price possible. Ami Amalia is a business built on transparency with regards to its ethical use of resources. Working in partnership with our customers in an industry dominated by large corporations, Ami Amalia sends a message: ethical consumers exist, and in partnership with ethical businesses, the process of producing and consuming textile can be improved.
I want to respect the fact that a woman´s body is in constant change, just like her lifestyle. When I look back at my wardrobe evolution through the last decade, most of the clothes can be categorized in the following stages:
• the “before-kids” clothes
• clothes that got packed away when I got pregnant the first time for what I thought is few months “before I get my body back”
• the “heavily-pregnant” stage
• the “few-more months-before-I-start-a-diet” stage
• the nursing and maternity leave stage
• the “back-to-office-but-can´t-fit-in-my-before-kids-clothes” stage
• and so on, and so on
What has surprised me is how very, very, few items of clothing moved with me from one stage to another. Some had the right design, but the fabric did not last, some had a design that did not accommodate the new lifestyle. Modern life is demanding; I don’t have the luxury to come home and change for every different activity I do throughout the day, combining child care, work, socializing, etc. Who does?
Of course, there are clothes for different stages in our life, but surely we can have more quality items that are more versatile and durable.”
#imperfect is for me the realization that once we renounce our quest for perfection, once we embrace our “imperfections” as the features and traits that make us perfect, we are perfect.
Some of us have this realization earlier in their life, or have the family support to grow knowing this, but the pressure women feel from the society canons to model themselves to the public idea of perfection can go from being mildly undetected to causing low esteem for so many women.
For me, motherhood put me face to face to the choice of accepting myself as I am or dwell on my “before kids” person.