In reference to my last post (the drowning part, not the Crested Butte part), it's wonderfully convenient that I happen to be reading Brene Brown's book, Daring Greatly.
I know that I am way late to jump on the BB bandwagon. After all, when I suggested this "great new author" to a friend she replied that she had seen her on Oprah a while back and has read several of her books. Sounds about right. Being behind on anything trending is pretty typical of my life these days.
Anyhow, Brene (see, we're on a first name basis now) talks a lot about perfection and the pressure we as women have with this very complicated ideal. Before you chuckle and envision "perfection" as the need to wear make up all the time or to be a good "house wife" this is certainly not what I mean...I'm way past that. Thank God.
This perfection is much more complex. It's a layer of stickiness that I can most certainly feel but try my best to brush off. And to be perfectly (ha, pun?) honest, it's weight carries quite the drowning sensation. Here's what BB eloquently has to say about it from her research:
...But the real struggle for women - what amplifies shame regardless of the category - is that we're expected (and sometimes desire) to be perfect, yet we're not allowed to look as if we're working for it.
She goes on to share a Marilyn Frye's (no idea who she is - just trying to give some credit here) examples of this predicament that we face:
- Be perfect, but don't make a fuss about it and don't take time away from anything, like your family or your partner or your work, to achieve your perfection. If you're really good, perfection should come easy.
- Don't upset anyone or hurt anyone's feelings, but say what's on your mind.
- Dial the sexuality way up (after the kids are down, the dog is walked and the house is clean) but dial it way down at the PTO meeting. And geez, whatever you do, don't confuse the two - you know how everyone talks about those PTO sexpots.
- Just be yourself, but not if that means being shy or unsure. There's nothing sexier than self confidence (especially if you're young and smoking' hot).
- Don't make people feel uncomfortable, but be honest.
- Don't get too emotional (hysterical), but don't be too detached (cold hearted bitch).
A few things to chew on, that's for sure.
Now before you think that I'm getting all feminist on you (which of course holds its contradictions and complications all of it's own) or that I'm dedicating my life to untangling this web, let me assure you I'm not.
Rather, just by simply reading these words, the weight feels...less. Her book has several "Duh!" moments for me as in, "Duh...it's no wonder I feel stressed". Even if I already "understood" these things before.
One message that has really brought me to a manageable wade these days rather than an all out flail?
"...Don't let perfection be the enemy of good*. The imperfect book that gets published is better than the perfect book that never leaves my computer. The dinner party of Chinese take out food is better than the elegant dinner that I never host".
Again, nothing earth shattering but lot's of head nods and "Yes, totally" 's.
And finally? A few mantras that will be posted on our fridge (sorry Chris) to get me through the day as stated by Andrea Scher in Brown's book - (okay, it's official. I pretty much suck at copyright):
Perfection is the enemy of good. (*It took me a few times to understand the brilliance of this one).
Quick and dirty wins the race.
Good enough is really effing good.
So, that's it for now. If you're in the market for a good read, I would highly suggest Daring Greatly. That is, if you haven't already read it like the rest of the world.
Now off to tackle this: