Tag Archives: change

The Prison of Perfection

Looking into the mirror has challenged many a women throughout history.  Even the strongest of feminists will admit, they too, sometimes cringe at the reflection staring back at them.  Women are programmed, from a very young age, to sacrifice all for beauty, that it is everything. The standard of beauty in our country creates an illusion of perfection.  Perfect hair.  Perfect Makeup.  Perfect Life.  The constant influx of perfection is plastered on magazines, billboards, and social media every single day creating an unconscious desire to be perfect.  There are thousands of step-by-step instructional tutorials across the world wide web illustrating, in real time, the hows, the whys, and ways to achieve such a staggering faux persona.  Women spend billions each year on cosmetic surgery and expensive clothing with the hope of reaching that unreachable end of the rainbow called perfection.  Celebrities are idolized and reality “stars” given an audience and platform that impacts and influences the ideal of perfection. We look at ourselves in the mirror and instead of just loving and accepting what is seen, we judge. Harshly.  Pick apart each detail that doesn’t quite measure up to the standard of beauty smeared across phone and computer screens every second of every day.  We nip, tuck, pull, push, stuff, slither our way into uncomfortable clothing.  We purchase shoes with red bottoms and brag about it on social media.  We beat our faces “for the gawds” and insert Rapunzel length hair onto our heads. Thus creating the perception of perfection.  And we are never satisfied.  If we get a compliment tossed in our direction, instead of graciously accepting it,  we secretly want more because our desire is for great.  If great becomes the word, we still want more, we want fabulous.  If we get fabulous, we want fierce.  Attempting to pacify a longing, a hunger within, we dress the outside package up and tie a pretty ribbon around it.  Ignoring the constant barrage of inaquadecy and self -hatred that burns through the tissue of the soul.  Leading to a slow and painful annulation of that which is precious and pure.  This is what happens when another’s perception or definition of yourself is allowed to trump what you know to be true.  Flawless on the outside but broken on the inside.  I have a natural inclination towards French culture, particularly Parisian women.  J’adore the rhythm of life in the “City of Light”, the innovative fashion and style, the ancient architecture.  But my real obsession is with Parisian women.  Why? Because they’ve managed, in the times we live in, to remain unmoved by the idea of perfectionism, the standard of beauty.  Parisian women have mastered the art of acceptance.  A crooked nose, bad skin, a mouth slightly askew, all of it is beautiful! Acceptance is the standard of beauty. Effortlessly chic is the wardrobe of choice because Parisian women understand it matters not who you are wearing or even what you choose to adorn yourself in.  There is no external standard of beauty to a Parisian woman because she is the standard of beauty.  Herself.  Her life.  Not some 5’10 ultra slim photo enhanced beauty on the latest cover of a magazine.  Her perception is based on what she knows to be true about herself and how she’s grown to love herself.  She has that extra unspoken something, the illusive je ne sais quoi that is non threatening to other women and is a radiant life force.  She isn’t self centered or approval seeking.  She is simply herself, imperfectly perfect in her own skin.

Are you ready? To be no longer a prisoner of perfection but a free being? Yes? The key isn’t tucked away, hidden from you, it is right where its been the entire time…in your hand.

 

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Inside of a Box

Conformity:

An act of conforming; to behave in a way that is accepted by most people; to do what other people do

Color inside of the lines.  Jump on the bandwagon.  Go by the book.  Play the game.  Obey the rules. Follow the crowd.  Toe the line.  Roll with the punches. Run with the pack.  Don’t make waves.  Don’t rock the boat.

We learn to conform at a young age.  We are taught to silence our unpopular thoughts and beliefs and adapt to the pack.  We are taught not to seek new ways of doing life.  What arises from learning to live in such a tiny oxygen deprived box is a shell of a person.  A walking zombie.  Someone who has learned to just go through the motions.  Live life on everyone else’s terms and expectations. Wave the white flag, surrender.

That was me.  Years and years of wearing a mask, hiding my true self, fearful of consequences, criticism and opinions.  Downplaying my passions, dreams, aspirations…afraid of disappointing “them” (can anyone tell me who these people are?)..withering away on the inside.  I had learned to restrict myself, restrain myself in hopes of pleasing the invisible judgmental group of people that resided in my head who-always-got-it-right (how I hated those people!).  I had learned to dismiss the few compliments and encouraging words I received about my creative skills when I allowed a small peek inside of my private world.  A pre-recorded repetitious record of negative thoughts would play in my subconscious anytime I felt a jolt of freedom, or joy, or smidgen of happiness.

Change, real-life-shifting-courage-needed-change, cannot occur without a catalyst.  Catalysts precipitate change and can be disguised in an array of costumes…a job loss, death of a loved one or pet, the end of a relationship, financial difficulty… which may lead you to do quite a bit of soul searching and look for some significance, some meaning in your life.  You will question everything…God (or whatever higher power you believe in) and everyone.  You will, at times, question your own sanity and rational thinking.  And all that you are made of will want to quit. Give up…die…remain a zombie because well, it’s just easier.  The thing is you can’t quit because change is occurring.  You have to keep going, keep fighting, and keep pushing.  You owe this to yourself, your authentic self.  Understand you are slowly being released from your prison.  It just doesn’t feel like it because you are in the process of change.  Yes, it is a process.  But it is manageable and purposeful.  And necessary.  Teach yourself to remove the periods placed in your life and instead insert commas.  A period signifies the finality of a thing while a comma suggests there is more to expect because it will get better.  Vow to continue living and allow yourself the room and self compassion to experience the fullness of change.

What makes me so qualified to speak on this? Because I, like you, was once a rider on the transition rollercoaster (I still am).  And like the Phoenix that rises from burnt ashes, I have been revived.  The fire didn’t consume me…it was never meant to…its purpose was to give birth to the powerfully free creature that is me.  Your Phoenix experience awaits you, what will you do with it?