When I was very, very young (we’re talking back when I was just Cathy C. and in 4th grade), I worked very, very hard in school because I absolutely, positively had to be the best in everything. Because if I made a mistake, the world would end—or something way worse.
Yeah, I had a tad of that perfectionism thing going on. Until one day, my teacher took my hand and walked me outside the classroom. “Cathy,” she said, waiting for me to dry my tears over a 98 instead of a 100. “If God had expected you to be perfect, we wouldn’t have erasers.”
Thus began my quest to love the imperfect life that’s me.
It has not been easy—and honestly, there are times when I still expect perfection. But I’ll share a secret. It’s the times when I make mistakes that I grow the most—whether it’s writing, or singing, or gardening, or building, or cooking, or even raising young ‘uns.
I like growing. I like that I’m not that little girl who cried when she made one mistake, who worried and fretted all the time, trying to be perfect.
I’m pretty darn imperfect. And I’ve grown to love my life, imperfections and all.
I wrote today’s post as part of the WOW-Women on Writing’s “The Art of Loving Your Life” Blanket Tour celebrating the release of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore by Barbara Conelli.
Barbara Conelli is an internationally published best-selling author, seasoned travel writer specializing in Italy. In her charming, delightful and humorous Chique Books filled with Italian passion, Barb invites women to explore Italy from the comfort of their home with elegance, grace and style, encouraging them to live their own Dolce Vita no matter where they are in the world.
Her latest book, Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore offers an intimate view into the unpredictable and extravagant city of Milan, its glamorous feminine secrets, the everyday magic of its dreamy streets, the passionate romance of its elegant hideaways, and the sweet Italian art of delightfully falling in love with your life wherever you go.
If you comment on today’s post on this blog or any of the others participating in The Art of Loving Your Life tour, you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore!
To read Barbara’s post about loving life and view a list of other blogs participating in The Art of Loving Your Life tour please visit The Muffin.
In a former life, I was a hand-quilter. (I quilted by hand. I didn’t quilt HANDS for amputees.) One nationally-known quilter talked about her mistakes, and said, “When you’re green, you’re growing.” When you’re shooting off in different directions, and new things begin, you’re growing…you’re adding to your toolbelt…you’re getting better and stronger…
I also learned that the Amish don’t believe in perfection–humans cannot achieve perfection–so sometimes I would do something on a wall hanging, necessitating that I title the piece “Amish Wallhanging # ___” and would claim the mistake/screw-up was deliberate.
So, Cathy…put a bit of an Amish garden in your backyard…Projects with wood: Make them Amish ones. Revel in the quirkiness, the asymmetrical-ness of the end result. And insist–upon your dying day–that you MEANT to do it–because no human can be entirely perfect.
Very well said, Sioux. In fact, I wish I’d said that. 😉
I forgot to mention that I’m also over at The Muffin today, talking about mistakes and graduation lessons. Can y’all tell that I *just* finished another WIP revision–because I found a glaring mistake? 😉
I love that line about erasers. I really needed to hear that today. Thanks, Ms. Cathy! 🙂
Yes, Madeline, hardly a day goes by that I don’t have to remind myself aboutt erasers. She was a wise woman, that teacher. 😉
Cathy, thank you very much for participating in my book tour. I absolutely love your post. As a recovering perfectionist, I totally get it. “I’m pretty darn imperfect. And I’ve grown to love my life, imperfections and all.” This is true freedom and one of the most beautiful keys to loving and enjoying your life!
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Barbara, I’m looking forward to reading your book! I have molto fond memories of my days spent in Italy!
Great post, Cathy! Wonder how many of us share this trait/challenge? I’ll bet a lot. Above my drawing table (literally written on the wall) I have a quote from Uri Shulevitz: “Give up the idea of the perfect, flawless picture, and aim for one that is alive instead.: :0)
LOVE that, Robyn! Just need to replace “picture” with “manuscript.” 😉
This is a reminder I needed to hear. I still hate making mistakes (especially those really stupid ones) but the growth IS worth it – and usually a pretty good story is born to boot. 🙂
I think “born” is quite apt there, Deb–I’ve had many a pain, making a story. 😉
Awww. I can just picture a young Cathy crying over not getting a 100 percent. Thanks for the lesson. It’s one that needs repeating.
Oh, I was *quite* the cry-er in my day, Donna…now I’m more of a yeller. (Or as I say to the Junior Halls, “That’s not yelling. That’s talking loudly.”) 😉
You haven’t reveled in your imperfectness until you sit back at the end of your first day of teaching, pat yourself on the back because the kids were SO well-behaved, and notice that on the board, right under your name, you have written your subject as S C I E N E. Uh huh. Those kids probably thought I was some crazy lady off the street–not even a real teacher.
Hahahahaha! Oh, Val–kids love finding out their teachers are human. Good for you, putting it out there, the first day! 🙂
My granddaughter came home from KG crying because she got all S’s on her report card. She thought it meant stupid. She got married last weekend. Mistakes are learning experineces, I have learned that over time.
Aw, that’s priceless, Linda! And amen to learning experiences. 😉
We all need to love our life more passionately since the world can be so challenging today! Taking the time to experience the journey without focusing on the destination helps
Perfectionism can be a curse because nothing is ever really perfect–and flaws make things much more interesting. Thanks for sharing!
Kim and Peggy, thanks for stopping by and sharing! I like to think I’m enjoying my (imperfect) journey!