What is perfection?
I typed the word perfection into Unsplash and this is one of the images that came up. It seemed appropriate. Admittedly I don’t know a lot about spiders as I am inherently terrified of them but one thing I do know is that their webs are perfection. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a full spider web strung between two trees with raindrops or frost on it. That is unless you walk into it I suppose. Either way, the web is perfection, and to some, so is the spider itself.
As for me, perfection is something I have always strived for in my life but somehow in my own eyes I always came up short. I don’t know why. I was never given the feeling by anyone else that I didn’t measure up in their eyes. That I didn’t always try my best and wasn’t talented in some ways. However, for some reason in my eyes, I was always falling short. I felt that I was never good enough at anything in particular. I was okay at most things but never particularly any good at one thing.
School was one place I always felt I fell short. I wanted so badly to be a good student, the proverbial straight-A student but instead, I just glided by. My marks were enough to pass me to the next grade, I never failed but I never excelled either. I was just mediocre. I never gave myself credit for the hours I spent doing homework and assignments. Instead, I concentrated on the times I slacked off or skated by. I felt that when it came to school I was a fake.
I was not popular but I was not unpopular. I was on the edge of everything, one foot in, one foot out. I was liked by most and hated by few. I was there but not there. I paid attention sometimes in class and other times I didn’t. I did my school work, but I never did extra credit and never put a lot of effort into it.
There was one thing and one thing alone at the time, school wise, that I loved and wanted to be perfect at and tried to be perfect at and that was printing and handwriting. I would write and re-write everything until it looked neat and tidy and perfectly formed. Never mattered much what the content was, for me it was just that I wanted it to look pretty, to look like I was smart, to look like I cared, to look like I put work and effort into it.
So much so that I would erase things over and over. Ever since I was old enough to hold a pen or pencil I would obsess over my printing and writing. I wanted it to be flowy and round and pretty. I loved coloured ink; pinks, greens, purples, teal, anything other than the traditional blue, black and red ink. I would spend little time coming up with my first draft of something and would be bored or annoyed until I had to do the “final copy” and then I would spend hours perfecting it.
In elementary school, I had erasers taken from me when my teachers noticed me writing, erasing and rewriting the same line over and over and over again until I erased a hole into the looseleaf. One teacher accused me of eating the erasers because I went through them so fast she thought I had developed some obsession with eating them. Nope, I was just neat if something did not look perfect to me on paper. I erased it and did it again.
In junior high when we graduated to using pens I had the same obsession. I would have my coloured pens taken away because my teachers complained that all though my essay looked beautiful it was too light to read or they had asked it to be done in blue or black ink. I had whiteout taken away when my English teacher in Grade 7 handed me my own essay to read which for once he said was nicely written only to have it fall apart as he handed it to me because I had used so much whiteout it literally cracked in half.
Looking back on it now it just seems one of those idiosyncrasies of youth. One of those funny things everyone tells a story about. One of those things that my family still laughs at to this day when we talk about it. I used to sneak whiteout and erasers into my classrooms because I was so distraught at the fact that I thought I might turn in a piece of paper with a mark on it that wasn’t where it should be or heaven forbid if I had to cross out a word I spelled incorrectly. I would lose it. I would lose my mind in class and have to go to the principals, it was the one and only thing that ever sent me to the principal’s office.
And still to this day. I crave perfection when it comes to my handwriting. I don’t handwrite much at all for that reason. It drives me insane to see a line or scribble through a word on paper or a letter corrected. Sometimes I think it’s a good thing I am seeing a councilor