Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Perfect Illusion

It's not easy being perfect.  Believe me, I know from first hand experience.  It's hard work.

It's also terribly frustrating carrying on this pretense of perfection.  And lonely.

For many years, I strived to be perfect and that got me absolutely nowhere.  It left me isolated, friendless, jobless and hopeless.

Because for many years I had a problem, an addiction you could say, that thankfully I managed to break myself of.  Unfortunately, it was not my eating disorder.  That is still a work in progress.

But the entire time I was suffering and weak, I was afraid to show it to anyone, even my family, which was truly devastating, because it almost cost me my very close relationship with my sister, that I value very deeply. And rightfully so, because I was a hot mess.  I was so wrapped up in myself that I couldn't get past my own selfishness to see how my behavior was affecting others.  Others who cared about me.

Luckily, my sister was the better person and hung with me long enough to see me to the other side.  For which I am eternally grateful. Because she is my best friend, my bestie,  my BFF.  Probably the only other woman on the planet that I can get along with for an extended period of time, because honestly, women can be so catty and competitive and nice-nasty that they get on my last nerve.

But maybe that's just Southern women, I don't know.  And for my female fans, I apologize.  Maybe it's just me, maybe you have tons of fantastic girl friends, then good for you.  I do not.

But I digress. What was I talking about?  Oh, ME, that's right, my bad.

And my selfishness.  I'm still selfish, very, but I'd like to think that I've grown out of that somewhat.  I'm not the sort to inconvenience myself regularly for the sake of others, but if I like you, if I care about you, I'll put up with some of your imperfections.  Oh, sure, I'll judge you silently, but I'll take the time to listen to your troubles, buy you a birthday cake, make you dinner, loan you a few bucks if I have it, wait with you when you've left the lights on in your car for someone who knows how to jump a battery to wander by (I'm looking at you, Meryl), but I'll generally take some time out for the common man.  Occasionally grace you with my appearance to your social functions.

And although this may seem the bare minimum of human interaction, it's a far cry better than I used to be.  When I lived by myself, I was a hobbit.  I would spend every night, week or weekend, sat in my dank disgusting little house, watching television and numbing myself with a number of substances.  I was a social leper.  Self-inflicted.

Because I did have friends, I did have people who tried to get me out of my house to interact with them.  I would always have a reason not to.  Always have some fabulous other made-up plans, or a mysterious illness that kept me from joining them.  I lost a lot of friends that way.  My isolation from society worked perfectly.  And it made me more depressed and alone and so began a vicious cycle that got to the point where my isolation was not so much self-inflicted.  People stopped calling, people stopped inviting, and people stopped caring.

And I let them because I was afraid to admit that I was sick, that I had a problem, that I was not perfect.  All they saw was a selfish bitch who obviously did not give two shits about them so why should they give two shits about me.

Touche.  Their hatred was well warranted.  Because they didn't know the truth, because I didn't let them.  Because I grew up thinking that the most important thing was to appear normal and perfect and anything less was a sign of weakness.

But here's the thing, and I hate the fact that it took me to 40 to realize it: appearing perfect ain't all it's cracked up to be.  In fact, generally speaking, people don't like people who appear to be perfect.  Because we are all, when it comes down to it, hot messes.  And there is so much freedom in finally being able to admit that.  And by not appearing to be perfect it's amazing how much you find that you can relate to other people.  And life is substantially less stressful.  And lonely.

My Mood Ring(tone) of the Day:

(I've finally perfected a Britpop station on Pandora!)

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