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Sunday, August 3, 2014


You are perfect. 

Scared you there, didn’t I???  Who do you know, who isn’t a complete and total narcissist, who can accept a compliment well?  Honestly, most people glow, just light up when you say something nice to them, BUT most people also disagree with you either verbally or nonverbally in some way.  The rolling eyes, the little shake of the head, the “Who me?” rejoinder.  And that’s just if you say something like, “Nice haircut”. 

Now hear this:  YOU ARE PERFECT.  Most people will full-on recoil, eyes rolling in the back of the head exorcist-style and very likely you will hear the ever popular voice of Ziggy say, “Pobody’s Nerfect.”  Am I right, or am I right?  BTW, if you don’t know who Ziggy is…well, that is just sad.  I’m sorry.

As a teenager, I was obsessed with the short stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne (nerd alert!) and most specifically, “The Birth-Mark”.    Also:  Ziggy.  But first to discuss the Hawthorne…this totally awesome story is about a brilliant scientist who marries a radically hot woman described as physically “perfect” with one exception: a small red birthmark on her face in the shape of a hand. 

Apparently blinded by science, the husband has no problem with this birthmark until the day they walk down the aisle; then he becomes obsessed with it.  With its hideousness, of course!  He dreams of cutting off her cheek, he is literally repulsed by his scorching-babe-of-a-wife because of this one small perceived imperfection.  So the wife says—“Get rid of it!”  (I am paraphrasing here)—because her husband’s love and esteem mean everything to her, this small blemish nothing.  So he does!  And also…then she dies.  Wah.
So what are we to learn from this tale?  Perfection kills?  Men are shallow?  OR how about this:  it is our imperfections that make us perfect.  Huh?  Huh???  I say it again…it is those small quirks and oddities that distinguish us from every other person on the planet.  These are the things that make us US, the things that perfect our characters, redeem our souls. 

Every now and then you will hear about someone who gets hysterical regarding Barbie (not me) or Photoshop (that’s me) or some other arbiter of the unrealistic ideal that no one can ever achieve.  The bottom line of these arguments tends to be that pobody’s nerfect and these images (and dolls) confuse us and make us unhappy with WHO WE REALLY ARE.  But the real problem lies in the idea that who we are and how we are is somehow not right, never mind not good enough.  That we are intrinsically flawed.

Like the concept of original sin (sorry people who believe in this!)…there is an idea that the human creature is an imperfect vessel waiting to be perfected.  Whether through prayer, ritual or plastic surgery, our flaws need to be excised to make us pleasing in God’s (and Madison Avenue’s) eyes.  My response is this:  BULLSHIT. 

If God is All-Powerful, then why create flawed creatures who need to jump through hoops to please Him?  Why not use those super-powers to create already perfect beings?  Is this a game show?  Some kind of cosmic “Hunger Games” where we outlast, outwit and outplay each other for God’s favor?  Or are we beloved sons (and daughters) in whom God is well pleased?  Are “the very hairs on our heads numbered”?  You pick what works for you, but I choose the latter.  Every hair on your head is precious and correct in the eyes of everyone who understands why we are really here.  Especially the greys!
You are perfect.  Every scar, every scab, every heartbreak, every mistake…these are the things that make you who you are.  These are the things that have taught you invaluable lessons and given you invaluable wisdom.  Cellulite free legs may have “taught” you to wear a bathing suit without shame, but this is not exactly a world-changing stance.  A high metabolism may have “taught” you that Dunkin’ Donuts ROCKS!!!!  But that is not exactly a life affirming position.  Naturally bouncin’ and behavin’ hair may have “taught” you that every day is a good hair day, but has it taught you compassion, generosity or coping skills? 

Because the world is not perfect, but you are.  The world cannot comfort a grieving friend, soothe an inconsolable child or repair a broken relationship, but you can.  Your super-powers are born not from the ways you are perfect, but rather from the ways you have experienced your mistakes and “imperfections”.  You are not Barbie, you are not Gandhi, you are YOU; thank God for that!

Like the smokin’ hot wife in “The Birth-mark”, when you remove the (perceived) imperfections, you remove who you are.  You literally cease to exist.  You become Barbie, plastic and empty and INTERCHANGEABLE.  Human beings are like snowflakes, no two exactly alike. 

And do you not think this is by design?  By perfect design?  You fill a space that no one else can fill because your bumps and “flaws” and differences make your space unique and invaluable.  The next time you make a mistake, instead of thinking “What is wrong with me?”, realize that now something new is right with you—you have learned, you have grown, you have gained a coping position that you previously did not have.  Because the world is not perfect, but you are. 

And finally for Ziggy:  he isn’t actually the one who coined “Pobody’s nerfect.”  Ziggy was more of a “So what if everyone laughs at you?  You are making the world a happier place!” kind of guy.  You and your perfect imperfections are making the world a happier place for sure.


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