Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Beauty in imperfection

When I lived in San Francisco my husband and I would frequent a small, local art gallery just a block from our apartment. It was one of our weekly activities usually stopping in before going out to dinner at one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants.

During one visit a piece caught my husband's eye. It was oil on canvas and I admit after studying it for some time I didn't feel drawn to it quite like my husband did. Soon after that visit he purchased it without me knowing, spending a little more than I probably would have agreed to. Most of his impulsive purchases I admittedly end up liking and in this case, this painting has grown to be my favorite thing hanging on my walls. It is a painting of a colt, slightly submerged in swampy water - a piece in a series of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

After hanging it in our apartment and looking closely at it from time to time, I began to be captured by something beyond the image in the painting. I saw the imperfections, or the so called flaws in the painting. I removed it from the wall and read the insert about the artist and her Flood Series. I learned the flaws were intentional. It was part of the "art". I looked even closer studying every brush stroke, the layered colors, the uneven frame. The imperfections spoke to me.

Part of the insert read:

"These paintings are intentionally imperfect; reconstructed over abandoned canvases, frames built from torn up floorboards. These paintings "rebuild themselves" as objects of beauty despite flaws - a crack in the wood, a nail head showing, a strand of hair caught in the paint."

I remember feeling so connected to the painting in that moment and still do.

I've struggled with perfectionism and the painful anxiety that comes from not feeling like I can control every aspect of my environment. I've fought hard and still do to fix the cracks in my life, to pick out the strands of hair that seemingly don't belong. My anxiety has become so severe at times that I've missed out on the beauty of just living - the raw, untouched, uncontrolled moments when life just happens.

Becoming a mother four months ago has truly tested by ability to let go of my need to control every outcome and be perfect. My baby is unpredictable, always changing, difficult, uncontrollable...but she is perfect.

I hope this blog will help me evolve, heal, and remember that there is beauty in imperfection.

This painting will forever remind me that some of the most beautiful things in life don't have to be perfect. Just let them be. Just accept them for what they are. Maybe then peace will come.

12 comments:

  1. Day by day. There is more beauty and tender moments to come. It's all going to be so beautiful. Happy to have met you, sweet Becky.

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    1. Thank you, Alexandra. I can't wait!

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  2. It's hard to let go of the need to control and be perfect, but it is so, so freeing.

    Welcome to the internet.

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    1. So freeing indeed. Thank you for your warm welcome.

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  3. Becky,

    If you can look for (and see) the beauty in imperfection, you've already won half the battle of motherhood.

    Not that your child will be imperfect - in your eyes, she is of course miraculous. But you will probably judge yourself.

    So be gentle in your judgments of YOU. And remember that your baby girl will love you all the more for being human.

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    1. Julie, thank you so much for your encouraging words, I need them right now. Glad to see you here and I hope you come back.

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  4. “Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we're all in this together.”
    - Brené Brown

    Welcome to blogging, Becky. :)

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    1. Beautiful quote and so true. Thank you, Alison.

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  5. I understand your words so perfectly because I've been there too... and finding beauty in the imperfections will be your saving grace in motherhood. You've started on the most simultaneously difficult and joyous journey there is. Welcome to the club...
    the battle...
    the beauty...
    the party.

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    1. I'm happy to be a part of the club. Thank you so much, Jenni, for your wise words.

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  6. Becky, I'm a local warrior mama. I'm thinking of you and sending you so much love. Just keep taking it day by day. This community of writers who talk about their anxiety is so supportive.

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  7. Definitely having a baby makes you have to let go sometimes, remembering imperfections aren't as much of a nightmare as you might think #SITSsharefest

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