imperfection

October is officially in full swing. Amazing how it happens that time passes whether we’re ready or not. Expectations, hopes, intentions all come and go. Sometimes you meet them sometimes you don’t. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t do it all, let alone do it all well.

What has impressed me the most in the last year or so is how many of those best layed plans never pan out. Or maybe I shouldn’t say never, I should just say they don’t happen quite as timely, orderly, seamlessly as I always hope they will. I’m getting used to it I guess. It’s taken me a long while, but I’m beginning to better understand it and better yet, just accept it. This wasn’t always the case.

Perfectionism used to be an issue for me. Heck, I still grapple with it. But after a lot of work to tame that beast, and the separation of my worth from my work, I have slowly become more kind and accepting of myself. Over a year ago I had a personal “I am Enough” epiphany and that was a life-changer, I have to say! Self-kindness was the single best gift I ever gave myself.

Last week the amazing Brené Brown hosted a web wide Perfect Protest in celebration of her new book “The Gifts of Imperfection : Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed To Be and Embrace Who You Are.”. The response was amazing. Our deepest desire is to kick perfection to the side of the road came to the surface as people shared what saying good-bye to perfection would help them say hello to in their own lives. It was so inspiring! My first thought was “Good-bye perfection, hello humanity.” And when I shared it with a friend she replied, “But you’ve always been human, even when you’ve tried to be perfect”. This is true. But working so hard to hide it helped, well, hide it. At least a bit. Even if for no other reason than to mask my imperfections a little. Now that I’m letting go and not working so hard to be perfect, I am seeing my many imperfections very clearly. What comes with that however is that everyone else can see them too. It’s now as if my humanity is pouring out all over the place; flaws, shortcomings, weaknesses, etc. It’s kind of messy. And uncomfortable. And as much as I am so relieved to finally embrace my imperfections, it’s not always easy to sit by and watch them be revealed to everyone else. Gulp.

Brene’s words struck a chord on this point when in her book she shares that choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be imperfect.

Bingo. It does take courage! That means, it’s not easy.

I know the only thing that’s going to make it a little easier is the knowing that I’m not alone. I know it’s saved me on so many other points, that this will not be an exception. It’s exactly why I can think of no better idea than to celebrate imperfection as a sisterhood! We need this. I need this! Let’s ban together and focus on the amazing, inspiring, authentic, real, beautiful side of imperfection. The more we point our lenses toward imperfection the more we’ll appreciate it, in ourselves and in each other.

We are going to use the month of October to do exactly that as we are partnering with Brené Brown, author of The Gifts of Imperfection : Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed To Be and Embrace Who You Are in this month’s One Word Project. Let’s see what kinds of imperfect gifts you can find this month! Be sure to add yours to our OWP Flickr pool! We promise we’ll be sharing lots of inspiration and some super-fun giveaways too in honor of imperfection.

Let’s kick it off today with images so perfectly imperfect, they beg to be shared!

Comments

  1. Aj says

    I have been shooting life's imperfections for over 20 years, Images whose essence is derived from the ordinary, displaced and the overlooked. See the portfolio at <a href="http://www.distilennui.com&quot; title="Stock Advertising & Fine Art Photographer London"> Distil Ennui studio website</a>

    See more like this on our <a href="http://alexanderjamesstockphotography.com&quot; title="Stock Library & Canvas Prints by photographer Alexander James – rights managed photography licensing & wall art"> stock library</a>

    Behind the scenes footage <a href="http://blog.distilennui.com&quot; target="_blank">SEE THE BLOG – Blog.DistilEnnui.com</a>

  2. says

    I missed the perfect protest, but I'm on board. I have been struggling recently with my creative crafts. sometimes there is a slight imperfection. Should i not sell it??? i have this inner voice that tells me to scribble on the back "If this is slightly imperfect, well…so is the artist who made it." argh!

  3. says

    As a perfectionist myself, I know very well that what you say here is *so* true, and *so* important.

    I love the imperfections that come when shooting film. Sometimes I get huge lightleaks on my images with my Diana+. Sometimes, those imperfections annoy me, because they seem to ruin I thought would otherwise have been a perfect image. And yet I keep shooting with that camera, because sometimes the lightleaks create the most perfect imperfections indeed, like here:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/85057042@N00/4140601507/
    or here:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/85057042@N00/4143462232/

  4. says

    Really needed to hear this today as I am hating all the shots I took this weekend. Wanting to focus on the process and having fun, and not getting "perfect" photographs. Thanks! xo

  5. says

    The hard way, I am beginning to learn that things don't unfold in the specific way you would like, and that waiting for the timely moment when everything comes together seamlessly, would be a grave mistake because that will nearly never happen.

    I wouldn't say that I have blindly dove in to take on the challenge of what I have to do to make things happen, but I'm finally taking the necessary steps in order to get there. Somehow, I managed to talk myself into just going for it instead of waiting for this to happen or that to happen.

    When you let go of waiting for things to perfectly unfold in the way that you envision, the unexpected happens and you really surprise yourself! It's true :D

    ~WW
    http://www.wayfaringwanderer.com/2010/10/fun-things-to-do-in-fall-north-carolina.html

  6. says

    I love all of this, I turned 40 last month and I'm really starting to understand that being enough starts with me and perfectionism gets all in the way of a happy life. I've made a lot of progress on my perfectionism since I became a mom seven years ago. I constantly have to prioritize all the family resources and my own. The house is never as tidy as I prefer it to be. The days it is, I sigh deeply with contentment. I would like to grow and find a way to feel content in the mess. I read that on a blog somewhere this year, "lean into the mess."

    Here is a photo that I think is imperfect but others seem to love. It's from my Polaroid SX-70 which I am still learning how to use one year later. I think this is too dark but it does express the wild Northern California coast.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jessnichols/4365801976/in/set-72157622427149444/

  7. says

    i've been watching this revolution unfold online and it's music to my ears. it's impossible to be perfect all the time, and i'm glad we can now all breathe a huge sigh of relief and embrace imperfection. thanks tracey x.

  8. says

    Love this post. I struggle with imperfection with my photos. I think every photographer has a photograph now and then that you just stare at. It's the perfect moment, the perfect expression…but something is off. If only the focus were sharper. If only that lady wasn't in the background. Damn, I forgot to dial back down my ISO (my favorite little flub). But not only do imperfections make for some interesting photos, they help us learn our craft in the process.

  9. marina says

    I am so happy for your choice of word, Tracey!!! and your photo illustrates the theme so beautifully, I love its colour tones and softness, it speakes of beauty, but also of acceptance and kindness to me.
    I do need to let go of my struggle for perfection and have been working on learning to be more kind to myself.
    Trying to capture the beauty of imperfection during this month will be a great chance to keep myself focused on this path.
    Here is a shot of a less than perfect and beautiful flower:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/36167691@N03/4742769513/in/photostream/

  10. says

    I so needed this to be THE WORD OF THE MONTH.. my ego driven perfectionism is exhausting. I'm so tired of caring and self correcting myself every step of the way. What a great exercise in self love. Funny I felt like I contributed inadvertently to the ONE WORD project with forgoing the usual formal shot for the Big Picture Fall assignment and being ok with the use of just a camera phone just to get it done….

    here's what I submitted… I love the irony too.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/modchik/5056022508/

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