I have always wondered whether it is possible to be perfect

I always loved the idea of perfection. I spent two very dark years trying to figure out what perfection was (point 1), and another five ignorant years trying to understand my definition of it (point 2). Now that’s perfect.

In December ’03, at 14 years of age, I cooped myself up in a room and wailed to this song:

Hey, Dad, look at me
Think back, and talk to me
Did I grow up according to plan?
And do you think I’m wasting my time
Doing things I want to do?
But it hurts when you disapproved all along
And now I try hard to make it
I just want to make you proud
I’m never gonna be good enough for
You can’t pretend that I’m alright
And you can’t change me… I’m sorry I can’t be perfect.

(Did you sing the song in your head? )
I sang it with passion and the words fused with the veins in my neck. In an emo angsty teenager way, this was the song that characterized my darkest times. And in case you wonder why I keep calling it dark, it’s because I struggled. I struggled to find reason to live, to make people happy, to be whoever I was. It was a vicious cycle because I always came back to one question: How can I be the most perfect awesome human being?

Not sure if everyone really goes through this phase but I was looking to be the best, the know-it-all, the guru, a record breaker, to make my mark on the world. I very deeply yearned to be the person who answered all the questions on ‘ask jeeves‘. On a side note, my perfect image of ‘Jeeves’ was broken when I asked him why dog poop turned white after it’s been on the grass for a long while and he didn’t give me a good answer ):

The word ‘perfect’ does presuppose a certain standard. I wanted to be the perfect answering machine, but after a while, I thought to myself ‘what for?’

Thinking back, God was indeed a good seed planter when these thoughts led to one stupid question I could never get an answer to (which pissed me off quite bad): What is the whole point of life?! (I tried the dictionary ‘life’; it was useless fyi.)

First, let me go back to my answer, it is possible to be perfect – in heaven.

To cut the long story short, I figured that God was legit and I used his standards. I followed the 10 commandments and listened to the older ones in church. My standards and end point became God/Heaven because if I didn’t know what happens after you die, I might as well aim for something that seems like nice happy puffy clouds. So learning point 1 for me: to be a perfect human, you must aim to be with God.

Then comes this issue. I can’t play the guitar like those people seem to connect with God. I’m too shy to pray, how am I supposed to have a relationship with God? I feel like I’m talking to a wall. What little faith I have! I was not the perfect Catholic, that sucks. And so I said:

I’m never gonna be good enough for
You can’t pretend that I’m alright
And you can’t change me… I’m sorry I can’t be perfect.

I grew apologetic and I never felt very worthy even though I served in church. I did a whole lot of quizzes to try and figure out who was the best person I could be but somehow it was just too tremendously intangible. How was I supposed to hone anything, if not my ‘gift’ of exhortation/ wisdom/ teaching/ anything?

Skip to about 5 years later. I head to San Diego and thereafter Spain where I discover true joy in being my own person. It was ok if I didn’t play the guitar; I could harmonize. It wasn’t the end of the world if I spoke rubbish in a prayer because I was so nervous. I didn’t have to read books to decipher God’s voice; I could enjoy talking to the stars.

So my 2nd point is simple – that God’s idea of perfection isn’t just one dimensional, it’s a whole dynamic universe! It comes back to the idea St Therese had that we are a whole garden on flowers. We aren’t just all roses or lilies or weeds, we are a garden – a very beautiful creation.

It’s a bit corny, but you know, “you’re perfect just the way you are”. *cue song* If you’re a rose, you’re meant to be a rose and that’s all you’re called to be. It doesn’t make sense if a rose wants to become a lily.

With that said, I could use this idea that “I’m different” as an excuse to just do whatever I want and still be perfect. But I go back to my 1st point, that the heart must be set on goodness, on God. Perfection on earth is achieved when a person strives for God. A perfect human is when you get to heaven and unite with God. So I’ll end with the (almost poetic!) description of the perfect human being.

The perfect man strives for God,
the perfect woman knows what she is called to,
the baby brings love.

*If you happen to be looking for an old school disney show to watch, i recommend Pixel Perfect. It struck me deeply when I was 15.



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