I recently watched the movie ‘Instant Family’, about foster families. When I was in foster care I wasn’t the trouble maker but rather the ‘trying to be perfect so that I would be loved’ child. I equated being perfect with being loved. If I helped around the house, did my chores, got good grades, always said and did the right thing, then I’d be wanted and kept (aka adopted). I lived with roughly 3 different families throughout my years in the system.
Looking back, it’s sad. I was silent a lot, I barely spoke. I remember getting hit on my head with a hairbrush when I didn’t tell my foster mom it hurt, as she brushed out my tangles. I hid in a closet when my adoptive family brought home their newborn, feeling unwanted, trying to disappear. Not only was I quiet, but I was petrified to do anything wrong, so as not be perfect and not wanted.
All of this has affected my adult life. I still feel the need to be perfect…even though I know there’s no such thing, no one is perfect, it’s an issue I’ve yet to work fully through. When my house is perfectly clean, when my body feels healthy and balanced, when my hair and nails are done, when I’ve checked everything off that needs to get done, when I try to work through all my lingering issues from my past…then I feel ok, like I can relax and finally be at ease. But the funny thing is, it’s never ending. It’s a temporary feeling to feel like everything is perfect. And the old feeling that I can be loved if I’m perfect is absurd. My point of all this is we can carry a lot of shit with us from trauma and past experiences. When you start getting at the root of things, that’s when the real healing can begin. That’s when you can really move forward with awareness and understanding of who you really are. What’s true and what’s false…and As the saying goes, “I’m perfectly imperfect.” Imperfection is beautiful.