Flaws are hard to admit. I could say that I haven’t been blogging because I’ve been busy, but that wouldn’t be the entire truth. In the spirit of full disclosure, I haven’t been updating my blog because vulnerability is difficult for me. I’m going to let you in on a little secret that I’ve been keeping to myself for too long…
I know you’re probably laughing at my obvious attempt at a joke, but I assure you, this is something I need to get off my chest.
Blemishes riddle me with abandon – I’m the Swiss Cheese of human beings. If I was a compound, my elements would be imperfections. There is no amount of alchemy or modern science that can fix me.
Admitting my flaws used to send me into a shame spiral. Here’s an example of just how far I’ll go to avoid admitting I’m imperfect.
You know those well-meaning women that ask, “When the baby is due?” simply because you are wearing a tunic? Most women respond with a derivation of “I’m not pregnant you dimwit.”
I take self-loathing to a new level. More often than I’d like to admit, I have puffed out my belly, grabbed it, and responded with some b.s. date and silently prayed the meddling stranger didn’t ask to feel it, because having a stranger grab last night’s burrito might have sent me over the edge. When I was asked by a masseuse if I had children, I responded with the name’s of my niece and nephew. I even showed her pictures.
And you might be wondering to yourself, why would a sane woman do this?
- Because I’m ashamed of my fatness (US Size 12-14).
- Because I’m embarrassed to open the “why I don’t have children at 30” box– especially with strangers.
- Because it pains me to contradict people, especially in a way that “disappoints”them.
Just typing this makes me want to cry. I’m not honoring my truth, life, and reality by burying it.
Covering up my shame with lies, even innocent ones, is self-harm.
Why do I function with this default setting that if it isn’t been deemed perfection by societal standards, it is a flaw? It isn’t healthy that the realization of my flaws carves up my self-esteem into thin slices. Verbalizing my inadequacies doesn’t diminish my worth. This fallacy is deeply engrained in my psyche –even authoring this blog post has me sweating bullets of shame.
Until recently, I thought my flaws hindered my “best life”. If only I were prettier, thinner, smarter, richer, more savvy, I’d have the life I was “supposed to”. Thankfully, life smacked me upside the head (a lot).
This life – flawed, messy, juicy – is the best life. My perceived “flaws” are just a fraction of my composition — a whole person who is loved, valued, and respected.
Isn’t forgiveness, compassion, and love a right I owe myself first, before extending the courtesy to others?
My gigantic ass knocks over bicycles and small children. “Cucumber with anxiety” is a perfect summary of my existence. I care more about books than most people. Despite the fact that I’ve studied Arabic for ten years, I can only have stunted conversation. Flirtatious by nature, I tend to stir the pot more than most. I raise my voice when I care about something (always).
But, I’ve got strengths surely!
Someone tell me I’m good at something, please?
Can anyone hear me?
Did I mention, I’m insecure?
Yes, Kate. We get it. Your flawed. Big deal. Isn’t everyone? What’s the problem?
The problem is that that a lot of times, the “flaws” we are pressured to erase aren’t actually flaws at all. Muslim women, women in general, are constantly told “how to be perfect”. If you want to be perfect, do X, say Y, feel Z. Enough with the madness already!
Most things we see as “flaws” are simply differences. If the global population consisted of only size-two extroverts with perfect skin who catered to their husbands every whim, it would be an extremely boring place. And probably pretty creepy. So, here’s to me (and you) acknowledging our flaws. Here’s to us, choosing acceptance.