Musings of the Day
One of the things about hiding ourselves is that we're afraid to appear human and vulnerable. We think that we have to have it all together before we allow ourselves to be seen. Well, I am too old to wait any longer. I'll never have it all together nor do I aspire to that anymore. Appearing perfect is exhausting and it doesn't allow for our humanity. It doesn't allow for others to be human around us. All it does is put up walls.
If aging has taught me one thing, it’s that I have little to no control over the passage of time and the effect that has on my body. There is no way to grow old and maintain any semblance of perfection, at least by our society’s standards. I used to hide because I believed that I wasn’t good enough to be seen, that I was so flawed that it was best to remain behind the curtain and give the limelight to those who deserved it. The beautiful ones, the successful ones, the “perfect” ones, the ones who seemed to have that magic something that we all aspired to.
Growing up in the decades that I did, the images of women that I was supposed to aspire to were airbrushed models, frighteningly thin, with no expression on their faces. They were mannequins, not humans. I was supposed to be quiet and not make waves. Not think too deeply or challenge those in charge. Keep my dreams, my opinions and my desires to myself to appear acceptable, especially to men. If I wasn’t perfect enough then no one would want me. It wasn’t who I was that was important. It was what I looked like to others that told me whether I was “perfect” enough. I never felt like I had it all together. Never felt acceptable enough, lovable enough. I was one of those people who might have appeared to have myself together, but that was merely a facade to mask just how “not together” I actually was. I learned early on that survival meant appearing a certain way and became a master at appearances.
“Perfectly imperfect” is what I like to say about myself. There is no reason to hide away anymore, thinking that somehow, one day, I would be acceptable enough to show my face. No, my face is what it is. It shows my age and experience, my wisdom and heartbreak. It shines with the resilience I’ve developed over a lifetime of being knocked on my ass and getting back up again.
I’m like an old tree who has weathered more storms than I can count, but is still standing, broken limbs and all. Where I’ve been broken, I’ve grown back stronger. Every scar is a mark of my strength to persevere. And each wrinkle on my body marks the passage of years learning how to be fully myself. Now those are attributes worthy of celebration, not hiding. Those are the things about me that connect me to every other human on the planet. We are all just humans trying to live our best lives with the imperfections we have, bearing the scars we bear. It doesn’t make us less worthy or ugly or unacceptable. It simply makes us human.
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