On Being The Worst
by Dawn W
*Author’s Note: Hello friends! I have returned! I’m sorry for the long hiatus, but as I tired to explain in previous posts (and as you can imagine), mourning the loss of my mother pretty much took up all of my mental and emotional energy for the last year. That’s not to say I’m over it now that the calendar has flipped, but I’m finding my feet and myself again. So, thank you for sticking by and waiting me out. Those of you that are Sherlock fans are well-versed in hiatus life, so this was nothing.*
I don’t like not being the best at things. Like, I really, really don’t like it. At all. Not even a little bit. I don’t mind being terrible at things I don’t care about. I’m rubbish at most sports. I can’t craft to save my life. In fact, I might be a danger to some people with a glue gun and glitter. The things that I value? The tasks that I find important? I need to be perfect. All the time. Perfect daughter/sister/employee/friend/enemy.
As I was letting my mind wander recently, it occurred to me that at times, I’m actually the worst at everything.** Let me explain.
I’m the worst feminist because while I believe in equal rights for all people, I still want a man to help me carry heavy things or put oil in my car.
I’m the worst daughter/sister/friend because I can be selfish and withdrawn. I expect people to live by my exact rubric of life and when they don’t, I totally don’t understand. I suppose you could put milk in your cup before the water but YOU WOULD BE WRONG.
I’m the worst employee because some days I’m sick. Or cranky. Or I misspell the word “Regional” in an email to a major client.
Do you know what happens when I realize I’m “the worst” at a thing? I remember that I’m human. I understand that perfection is not actually attainable. I look back and see how different this mistake is than the last one. I see how far I’ve come and I see how far I have left to go. While it is a huge attack on my pride, knowing that I have not yet reached my fullest potential is actually so comforting. Guys, if the me right now is the best it gets?! Oh man. No thank you please.
Several people on Twitter today shared this quote,
“Only the mediocre are always at their best.” Jean Giraudoux
Read that again. I’ll wait.
What I’m saying here is that I’m learning to embrace my moments of imperfection. Being truly terrible at something provides a spotlight straight on what I can improve. Well done, self, for sucking for the greater good. For you, it may not be letting yourself be less than perfect. It may be putting words on paper when you don’t want to (me again). It may be not being nice or being too nice. Maybe you knitted a sweater and it has three arms and no head. I don’t know what your thing is, but we all have impossible standards to which we hold ourselves. We see ourselves falling and want to give up instead of acknowledging the reality that falling on your face is still forward motion and all forward motion counts.
It’s possible that you don’t need to hear this and that’s great. I think some of you might. I know that I’ll need to hear it again and again and again in the future, so I might as well share with you.
I challenge you all to greet your “failings” with open arms this week as you rejoice that you are not done improving yet. Let’s continue to get better together, shall we?
**Note: I’m using “the worst” as a colloquial term to mean less than perfect. Also, these are the standards that I have for myself. I would never expect anyone else to hold themselves to these standards. You do you. That’s why I like you.