Sure, it hurts, but you can’t really blame the guy, I guess. At least he’s being honest.
One of the things you hear most often from people is that when writing, one should write what they know. Unfortunately for me, the vast majority of what I know is fairly archaic at best and absolutely useless to anyone but myself at worst. Every now and then, though, something comes up that I think, “Maybe someone else can actually relate to this.” Today is one of those days.
True perfectionism inhabits the unlikely nexus between narcissism and self loathing and acts like a black hole from which nothing productive can escape. For many people, creative types especially, this probably sounds familiar. On the one hand, we can think that something so ludicrous as perfection can and should be attained by us (narcissism) and on the other, we look at everything we do, see how far from perfection it truly is, and grasp in those moments how silly and impossible that dream is (self-loathing). This often results in its own strange kind of creative life cycle that takes on its own unique shape for each individual. For those harshest of self-critics, very little gets shared with the world, and for others, they simply live on this roller coaster, perhaps sharing but never happy.
The other alternative is to get off the ride and accept the imperfections in ourselves, our lives, and our work, and to maybe even appreciate them as we strive to better ourselves.
I was walking in the park yesterday and enjoying the trees and paths, and watching the animals that live there. I took a moment to sit down on a small stone wall and as I was examining the foliage and the ground around me, I saw a rock lying in the dirt by itself. I picked it up and held it for a bit and examined it. I honestly can’t tell you why I picked it up, the rock itself was wholly unremarkable at first, second, and third glance. It was certainly not the sort of rock one picks up and writes about, but here we are. It wasn’t large or smooth, it didn’t have an unusual shape or color, it was simply a rock covered with small imperfections and grooves, slightly rough on the skin with a sort of dusty brown and gray coloration. For whatever reason, it was these imperfections that stood out to me. Here was this little stone that had taken who knows how many years to form and be shaped and carried to this place, now sitting in my hand.
This imperfect seemingly unremarkable rock was remarkable in that it was unique. Sure, it may be similar to other stones, it certainly shares many of the same properties, but it’s a pretty safe bet that the details of its story are its own and that’s where the beauty lies in most things. I often worry about whether the jokes I write are good enough, whether the blog posts are interesting or insightful enough, whether I myself am good enough, and while those can be good motivators for self improvement, holding back from doing the things that you love out of fear of imperfection does not improve your life or offer anything useful to others.
Nothing in the universe is perfect but that in itself is a strange kind of perfection, if you ask me. It is, at the very least quite lovely if one stops to appreciate what makes things unique.
Is this blog post perfect? Not at all. Is the comic perfect? Nope. But I hope you’ve enjoyed them anyway.