I have a friend who, in my opinion, writes beautifully. Her writing is reckless, yet eloquent and poised. She dives deep underneath the surface of herself and her subject to explore the meaning that lies underneath. My perfectionism tells me I need to be like her; a profound writer. An explorer. A collaborator. A curator. When I read her work I immediately feel inspired to work, to get something on the page. Yet when I do, I’m met with contempt in my own mind. I scrap it, claiming what I write will never be as good as hers.
The thing is, I can’t allow my perfectionism entrance into my creative hemisphere. I can allow it to open the door and poke it’s head in, but it is not welcome across the threshold. I write enough about perfection and it’s role in my life, but when do I stop writing about how I’m going to ignore it, and actually start ignoring it? Otherwise this blog is just proof of my hypocrisy. And I sure as hell won’t write anything profound if I delete everything I create. I read a quote recently from Austin Kleon, author of Show Your Work! that sums this up pretty perfectly: “You can’t find your voice if you don’t use it.”
As I write this, I’m sitting on a bench on a cliff with the ocean spread wide beneath me. It glimmers and glistens in the sunlight, moving effortlessly. I look out at the water and think “That is perfection.” But then I notice the waves bumping into one another, tripping over themselves as they stumble towards the sand beneath me. The surface is smooth in some places and rough in others. Boats carve white trails in it’s surface. No two waves look exactly the same.
Nothing is perfect. Not even the sea, despite it’s many idyllic qualities. The sea is chaotic. Constantly giving and taking with reckless abandon. Today, as the sun warms my face and my nose inhales the salty air, I am making a promise to be more like the ocean. Unforgiving. Exploratory. Imperfect.