When I was a girl there was a lot of pressure to achieve, and to behave and look a certain way. I had to be neat, pretty, quiet, rigidly pious and unfailingly polite. My grades had to be as close to perfect as possible (an A was OK, but really kind of disappointing, why couldn’t you get an A+?). The standards set for me were impossibly high. This caused frustration, anxiety and an underlying current of guilt. What was wrong with me that I just couldn’t measure up?
As an adult, even though I am now free to be whatever I choose to be and set my own standards, I still find myself carrying around that underachiever’s guilt. Unless everything I do is absolutely spectacular (which, of course, it rarely if ever is)…it isn’t good enough. I beat myself up over every mistake. I want to be the BEST mom, wife and all around person I can be, with no room for fallibility…for being tired, cranky, messy or lazy…for being human. Logically I know it’s ridiculous, but still I carry it with me, this vague idea that perfection is somehow attainable and I am a bad person if I am not striving for it with all my might.
Enter art. This is where art helps and heals me. I find I am drawn to art that is rough, unfinished, aged and distressed. Art that revels in its own messy spontaneity, which celebrates imperfection! It is both humbling and completely liberating to sit down with a blank canvas, knowing that the end result will never be perfect, that perfection isn’t even remotely the goal. In art I am completely free to make mistakes (sometimes the “mistakes” become the most beautiful part!) and to be myself, and more and more I learn to bring this gorgeous freedom from guilt and expectations back into my every day life.
11 hours ago