We all live lives of imperfection and yet we cling to this fantasy that there’s this perfect life and that our leaders should embody it. (From Mathew Santos’ speech in ‘The West Wing’ – Season 6, Ep.22)
They’re showing re-runs of ‘The West Wing’ here in India. I’m hooked on to it. It’s fascinating how we humans have created ideas and concepts, for how we should rule ourselves. It’s gobsmackingly entrancing to watch the political machinations that are in play in the self-proclaimed ‘most powerful nation on Earth’. How people lie, cheat, pull strings, commit perjury, infidelity and yet somehow manage to stand tall and do what is right. Yes, it’s intense, extremely smart, for most parts beautifully written by Aaron Sorkin, masterfully enacted (one needs to take lessons from Allison Janney aka C J Cregg in one of the best etched characters for a female actor ever, and that’s IMHO) and so real. Who cares if the sets are not the exact same way as the real deal, who cares if it doesn’t exactly work like this in the actual west wing. I care about the characters – righteous, brilliant, brilliantly funny, with a sense of repartee and rejoinder that is almost inhuman it’s so bloody good, cocky, determined, insistent, persuasive, sly, compassionate, heroic, loyal and everything else in between – who are like me and you, whole, flawed and oh so perfectly imperfect. Which is what makes it so eminently watchable.
Yes, we do live lives of imperfection. Perhaps it’s the law of the Universe. Maybe when the Big Bang happened, it created so much noise that it deafened the sound of perfection. And thereby created an eternal, gnawing, insatiable greedy desire for that which is unattainable. Perfection.
When I see myself in the mirror, I see thinning hair, sagging tummy and breasts, dry skin, gnarled hands, a butt that is no longer as firm as it used to be, teeth which are just about holding up, and then just when I’m sighing in mute acceptance of that which cannot be changed, I look at and into my eyes. I see a fierce brightness, a smile, a soul that’s so bright, a radiance that cannot be diminished and a perfection that is hard to beat. I catch my breath. And then the moment passeth!
I don’t look at myself in the mirror with such care and devotion everyday. Most days it’s cursory. For the longest time I couldn’t bear to look at myself in the mirror in public places. At a restaurant, hotel, office, airport, anywhere public, when I visited the cloak room, I really wanted to be cloaked from the prying (?) eyes of others. I couldn’t look myself in the eye with confidence. I would never be able to run a quick comb through my hair or darken my liner. I was afraid. I was ashamed. What would these beautiful women (everyone other than yours truly was always prettier) think of me when they saw me? Would they be thinking, ‘My what an unpleasant looking woman?’ or would they go, ‘she’s dark, she’s a loser’ or would they not think I was worthy of any momentary attention at all? I was probably the most focused when I was in the cloak room – in, do your thing, out – and didn’t really dawdle, linger, gossip, or indulge in vainglorious practices, ha ha ha ha. I never showed up for myself. I let myself down. For what?
I’m ugly and people will find out.
I’m dark skinned and perforce, always be inferior to those who’re fair skinned aka pretty women.
I’m short and don’t have a Size 0,2,4,6, figure. Men won’t ever desire me.
I’ve got big teeth and my jaw line and profile are all screwed up. No guy will ever dedicate a song to me at a fete.
I’ve tubby fingers, broad feet, fat thighs – people will laugh at me when I wear nail polish or tight jeans. Ewwww!
As I write this, I feel ridiculous. Just reading these statements makes me wonder why I’ve held on to it for so long. Couldn’t I have known, seen, understood? I guess not. It’s very difficult to be a detached, non-judgmental bystander peeking within and figuring out how to heal.
Where did this come from? Where does it stay? Who is its bedfellow? What is its purpose? Why this self -deprecatory dialogue intent on sucking the soul out of my soul? How long will it continue? Does it deserve to continue? Am I so weak that I’ve let this dialogue show me the middle finger in open defiance?
Questions that I’ve been wondering about all my life. Fears, fears and more fears. Like I wrote before, fear is essential. But it’s up to me to decide how much, when and where it can be called upon to play it’s part. It’s time to say STOP! And flex my brain muscle and heart muscle and belief muscle. It’s time to put the fear into fear.
I’m whole. I’m beautiful. And everything that God wanted me to be. And proud to live my life of imperfection.
— Thank you Joe Cocker :).