Living in a world of perceived perfection has made it difficult for us to acknowledge and accept the aspects that make us unique. Ondine Purinton-Miller delves into the constant fight against our flaws and inspires us to honour our “imperfections.”
WRITTEN BY ONDINE PURINTON-MILLER
There is a crack in everything - that’s how the light gets in.
It’s no doubt that Leonard Cohen is a gifted orator and poet - these words specifically echoing through my consciousness. There is something about acknowledging imperfection that is so profound, Mr. Cohen illustrates this perfectly. Too often we get caught up in eliminating the aspects of ourselves that help us grow and develop into a full grown human. Sure, these things give us character, but more than that, they are the imperfections that make us totally perfect.
The voices of many generations were full of wonderfully imperfect humans, those who have experienced this crack-forming turmoil, or broke the caste of seeming physical perfection. Without the turbulence, they would not be the gifted artists that they are. Ironic isn't it?
We are so caught up in being perfect - physically and emotionally. We live in a world of curated perfection, where we can scroll through endless tropical holidays and compare ourselves and our own lives to it. It is human nature to be critical, but in nature, everything is imperfect.
We honour natures magic and spontaneous growth and resulting beauty, we see jagged rock faces and unstepped forests and we are grateful for its unconstrained perfection, we are in awe of it! There is no rhyme or reason for why trees grow in a contorted wonderful way, the root systems seemingly chaotic but also so incredibly special. The water cuts through rocks and forms canyons and creeks, meandering through the earth - it's not a straight line. It undulates and moves with an imperfect flow.
We have to accept ourselves and we have to first acknowledge our imperfection in order to experience some degree of shift. This is how we eliminate our inner fight.
We can spend endless hours in front of a mirror, realising our physical cracks and then spending hours more trying to cover them. When do we realise that our own human experience helps form us? We have to accept ourselves and we have to first acknowledge our imperfection in order to experience some degree of shift. This is how we eliminate our inner fight. We as humans fight against our imperfections as if they are some sort of enemy - when we unite with them we can flourish and grow. The minute that we then accept these flaws is the moment that we can fully change for the better. This is not to say we need to alter or change ourselves in order to better ourselves.
Confucious says: “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” What I love about ManiaMania's incredible creations is that each crystal you choose to bring into your life has its own unique "imperfections". Is an inclusion of some kind really something you don't want? These inclusions are little gifts from the earth. This is nature! What makes each piece so incredibly wonderful is that it is unique and there will be nothing again like it. The shapes differ, the rainbows of light inside differ, the inclusions will always be different and unique. So in our own way we are all wondrous, mystical, spiritual little imperfect crystals.
It's all too common to hear; "I'm a perfectionist" and we think to ourselves, that "person has a cleaner bedroom than me" or a happier family, more freckles, a better nose, bigger lips *insert your insecurities here*. We think that they are somehow better, but the truth is, there is a level of suffering in that perfectionism, which in itself is imperfect and THATS OKAY! It's an endless cycle, it’s a giant oxymoron and what I'm getting at here is that it’s all good, always.
I practice yoga quite regularly. There is an element of imperfection that is 100% necessary in my practice - I can't expect to stand on my head or to be able to balance every day. I have to accept myself in that exact moment, and know that my body will work for me in its own time. That doesn't make my asana practice any less than the person on the mat next to mine. It's just different. I have my own stuff to work through, and they have theirs. It is the human condition and I adore this microcosm that I experience daily on that mat.
If these people were absolutely perfect, where would the emotion they speak of or illustrate come from? It is the human experience to go through the highs and lows of life, we are not human without it. Where would the poetry be?
What we too often don't realise is that - the people we aspire to, the people that we honour, the artists or activists that voiced the people, or spoke of their turmoil are who they are as a result of their imperfections. Van Gogh, Patti Smith, Martin Luther King Jr, Ernest Hemingway, Eddie Vedder, Eminem, Bob Dylan, Sia, Matisse, Picasso, Chagall and the rest. If these people were absolutely perfect, where would the emotion they speak of or illustrate come from? It is the human experience to go through the highs and lows of life, we are not human without it. Where would the poetry be? These people were recognised as wordsmiths, artists, raconteurs and poets because they spoke of aspects that humans are all too aware of. They voiced the innermost workings of the imperfect human and they struck a chord with each and every level of humanity.
A massive part of inner growth and transformation is exactly this - but admittedly it is so difficult in the 21st century world of perceived perfection, where operations and augmentations dissolve the theoretical flaws. Images don't do human nature justice - we cannot see the poetry that pours out of someone through a two-dimensional world.
As I wrote this I realised, that the artists I've spoken of being "imperfect" are very often men. After sitting and taking some time to ponder this, it occurred to me that it is less accepted to be an imperfect woman. It's more often than not about being seen and not heard as a woman. To speak of our innermost workings and flaws as females is often perceived as "oversharing". We women are complicated and complex and we need to embrace this - complexity is wondrous and intricate. Women especially need to break the taboo that being convoluted and complex isn't appealing. It doesn't make you any less feminine, any weaker or stronger. It forms us, just like the perfect environment forms crystalline structures.
We have the choice of whether we’re going to reproach ourselves or accept ourselves. Choice is always there at every twist and turn.
Interview by Ondine Purinton-Miller