My little sister saved me today.
She’s good like that.
She saves me all the time. It’s new, this. Since my dad died, everything is different. I have always loved my baby sister. But I haven’t always needed her to save me. We haven’t always known how to help each other. I didn’t always know how to ask. Or what to ask for.
No one’s life is easy. Everyone loses sometimes, and loses deeply. Everyone has fear. Everyone struggles. The most perfect people are filled with demons… and maybe one of those demons keeps yelling at them to be perfect.
I was raised in a 100% home. Be perfect, or lose love. (Or receive anger.) 97% was not good. 97% meant questions about “where the other 3% went”. It distorts your mind and makes it difficult to find joy. Makes it difficult to appreciate creation over regurgitation, showing you’re already good at something over exploring something you’re not. Whatever you’re exploring, you should already be good at. Not good… perfect.
Trying to be perfect fills you with constant fear. There is only one place to go from perfect. You can’t enjoy success when you’re already scared of next time.
My brother and sister and I all came up in this. And so most likely did my parents. My mom’s own struggles with perfection aren’t something she invented to be hard on us. They were part of something which shaped her too, and we can all get trapped in the toxic puzzles that get passed along. Parenting ugliness that gets watered down, maybe gets a little better every time, until finally it’s watered down enough that it’s safe… or someone dumps it out.
I’m not having kids. So I can’t try to dump it out before it gets to them. But I can reach sideways to my siblings, when we feel this vice of perfection, and we can say it’s okay. You’re doing okay. You’re not lesser. You’re not failing, you’re living. Be kind to yourself. Don’t try to be perfect, try to live your life with curiousity and kindness. You deserve to be happy and be loved, as you are. You don’t have to earn it — first and repeatedly — with 110%. I love you. I am holding your hand. We are going to figure this out.
I live here now, in this beautiful perfect place I have always wanted to live in. I belong here. I should no longer feel fear. And I’m still afraid. Of course I am. Are you kidding? Fucking terrified. My life is still as always full of unknowns. Full of ways I’m not perfect. Full of things to be afraid of. I’m afraid of money — another lingering puzzle — I’m afraid of losing people, of instability and uncertainty, of aging and my body, of people being mad at me, of failing, of having no idea what comes next, of losing what I’ve gained here…
I anticipate (anything bad), and I am filled with worry (over losing anything good). There is no template for life here. Even if, with all my occasionally paralysing fears, it still feels… perfect.
I try now, to leave more space. I try now, to make mistakes. I try now, not to beat myself up. I try now, to be less afraid. I try now, not to worry. Especially not about being perfect.
And when I am afraid, and when I am struggling, when I worry, and when it gets dark, I try to remember to reach out to my sister. Who is so good at reaching back. So good at saying it’s okay, you’re okay. Be curious. Don’t be afraid. You are loved. I am holding your hand. We are going to figure this out.
Thank you little one. Thank you for saving me.