October 31, 2012

Imperfectly Perfect. ~ Alicia Banister

I don’t want your perfections.I want your humanness.

I tell people that, I think it’s a beautiful idea, really. To be human is to be imperfect. I want you to cry and feel weak and scared and hopeless (okay, I don’t really want you to, but if that’s where you are I want you to have permission to be there) and I want you to celebrate and be joyful and courageous and loving and giddy.

I don’t want everything to be okay. I don’t want you to hand me a neat little package when we talk, with a tag that says, “Here’s how I am, and I understand it all, so I’m just telling you what’s going on to keep you in the loop.” I want you to call up and say, “I have no idea what to do right now, and I don’t need you to fix it, but I need you to know I’m a little lost right now.”

I want you to be human.

Again, a beautiful idea. And a flawed idea (not surprising, really). Flawed because I’m sitting here asking you to be human, to show me your imperfections, to let me love your flaws—and I struggle to do that for myself. I want everyone to be human—except me.

Something tells me that’s not going to work out too well.

I am not necessarily a perfectionist. Anyone who has painted a room with me knows that. And yet, when it comes to myself, there’s so little wiggle room, so little space to be imperfect that I’m discovering I’m suffocating this being.

Here’s the clincher: I’m ashamed that I have shame around my flaws.

How’s that for a bind? I am embarrassed that I get trapped in ego-spinning.

There is a need in me to present something to the world that is palatable. That sounds harsh, I know, but let me explain.

I am afraid to bring my flaws into the world. I am afraid to be something that needs to be understood or tolerated. I am afraid of what I see as flaws. I am afraid that there are things that I don’t see as flaws, but others do. All of this because I am afraid to be qualitatively valued based on my imperfections, and that value directly correlates to my worthiness.

So, I learn to perfect. I learn to box. I intellectualize my emotional state and share it with the world (or at least with close friends) when I have clarity enough to allow for articulation in a way that’s safe and concise and from a bit of a distance. I report. I’m the one handing out the neatly wrapped up boxes containing bits of myself that I’ve deemed acceptable. I have to have it all figured out before I can share it with you, so just give me a minute over here.

And I need to tell you, dear reader, this is exhausting. It’s exhausting and lonely. It’s lonely because keeping my imperfections to myself means that I’m not really seen. Or at least it feels that way because I don’t present a wholeness to the world. I present this amalgam of boxes.

Straighten-ing. My yoga teacher says that a lot—straighten-ing. Moving in the direction you want to go in, but you’re not quite there. So, I’m learning how to hang out in the “ing” time; the space where exactly how I am is enough. Good enough, strong enough, soft enough, open enough, disciplined enough. I know there’s more and I’m moving in that direction, but I’m not going to wait until I’m there to bring all of myself out into the world.  If that’s what I’ve been asking of you all this time, I guess it’s about time I ask that of myself.


Alicia Banister swims in the sea of bodyworkers in Boulder, CO. as a CranioSacral and Massage Therapist. She is not very good at sleeping late or cutting in a straight line. But, she is really good at regularly feeding her dog, being in the woods, cooking, laughing loudly and often, and making mistakes. She regularly marvels at the human body and the breadth of its inherent healing capacity, as well as the fantastic beings that inhabit those bodies. She makes it a practice to let life humble her as often as possible. And to remember to have a sense of humor about it all. You can find her ramblings at reflectionsmassage.wordpress.com and www.reflectionsintegrativetherapy.com

~ Editor: Elysha Anderson

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