My favourite Starbucks is stuck between a Loblaws supermarket and one of these Goodlife Fitness gyms. Many people stop by after a workout—it’s easy to spot them, they all carry the branded gym bag, presumably a membership goodie. Sometime, trainers and members share a table and set up a fitness plan together.
And every time I see these active, healthy people sipping triple-mocha-one-pump-vanilla-syrup-no-whip and sampling sweet oat bars and cookies, I smile. Not in a mean “hey, you fattie!” way, mind you. I smile because we, humans, are contrary creatures.
We are all beautifully weak, strong, and very much flawed.
Eh, I am this person too. I used to love my smoke after a yoga session. I buy makeup even though I know I never wear any (but these rainbows of eye shadows are so cute!). I’m tired but instead of resting, I drink more coffee. I refused to add butter or oil to my veggies but I will happily eat chocolate cookies and well, anything coated in chocolate, really. I walk to the other store to save 50 cents on a box of cereals just to splurge on a cream promising me so much that it takes half of the packaging to describe the miraculously new me about to happen.
Yes, we are flawed. And it’s pretty awesome. It spices things up, don’t you think?
This is the French me talking. French are epicurean, joyous pessimistic and self-conscious hedonist. North Americans, on the other hand, strive for perfection and constantly want to better themselves and those around them. Change, change change—French fear change, North Americans value it.
I both admire and loathe the never-ending quest to be healthier, richer, more productive, better people with better bodies and better lives.
There is nothing wrong with the big picture but oh, the pressure! We want to have it all, we compete, we fight, perpetually unsatisfied because there is always someone richer, healthier, stronger, more powerful and just better overall.
At various times through my life, when my confidence was at its lowest, I turned to books, websites and magazines, all promising fixes, methods, you name it. I ingested the knowledge and hundreds of life hacks, nodding all along. Surely, if I followed the steps, I would be a better person. I would be okay.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like this. Sure, I picked up a few tips here and there—I can cook a perfect soft-boiled egg, clean stubborn soap residues off shower walls with a dryer sheet (it actually works!) and pluck my eyebrows like a pro. But I found most advice and tips hard to implement in real life, a messy and unpredictable affair for which there is no one-size-fits-all instruction manual.
So I decided to embrace imperfection. It started with the idea of beauty. I’ve been called “funny”, occasionally “smart”, but I’ve never been called “pretty” by someone else than my mom. And everybody knows it doesn’t really count. Indeed, I’m not “magazine pretty” and there is nothing remarkably attractive, odd or fascinating about the way I look. I used to agonize over the size of my butt and thighs, my nose or my pores (thanks, magnifying mirror) until I realized not one else but me cared. Few people, except those paid for the job like casting directors, are going to single out body parts. Okay, maybe teens do—“the ass is a nine but the boobs are a six”. The rest of us see the person.
So I’m done dissecting myself. If overall, I look fine, then that’s good enough. For every picture I find atrocious, there are ten that I love because they capture a moment, and that’s what matters after all.
As for other aspects of life, well, I think I’m okay with the idea that I will never be a high-achieving CEO, a millionaire, a celebrity, a ballerina or an explorer. However, I can be proud of the fact I’m making a living doing what I love, and that there are some pretty awesome people around me. I think I’m happy to be a good-enough mother and a very imperfect person in general.
Life is a learning experience and I do hope I pick up skills here and there. But at the same time, I’m grateful for all my flaws because they make me human—and that’s pretty awesome.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to dance half naked in front of the mirror. No, I can’t dance. But yes, it’s fun.