Friday, April 15, 2016

28 Days of Abstinence - Day 26 - Inconsistently, Honestly, Human

Nature: inconsistently, honestly, beautiful

"To be honest, one 
must be inconsistent." 
–HG Wells

This seemed the perfect quote to follow on from yesterday's theme of "progress, not perfection." The idea of progress and not perfection, of taking things one step at a time and leaving room for backsliding and imperfection, has been crucial to my own personal growth and spiritual journey. 

As a young child I became enamored with the idea of being perfect. I believed that if I always sat up straight, always listened to the teacher, always did my best and always got good grades, that would be make me "a good girl" and everyone would love me. 

Of course it is not always possible to always sit up straight, always listen to the teacher, always do your best, and always get good grades, but I made a pretty good show of it by subjugating my feelings and acting the part. 

I tried to do the same thing as a young mother - though being a perfect mother seemed to include more "nevers" - never use formula, never let my baby cry himself to sleep, never leave my baby with anyone who I hadn't known for at least ten years, never let my baby get diaper rash, never put my needs above those of my baby, etc., etc. After about two weeks of this I was strung out, exhausted and ready for the loony bin. 

I had to re-write the rules and, in fact, re-write the whole script of my life. I had to stop trying to be perfect. I had to throw out the words "always" and "never." I had replace the concept of "The Good Mother" and learn to be happy being a "good enough" mother (thanks Grace!). Because no one can do anything perfectly, least of all parenthood. 

I have not knowingly cheated on this challenge. I have abstained from cinnamon loaf and salted rosemary bread, I have eschewed cake and croissants, and I have passed up the chance to have what I can only imagine was some of the best fried chicken in the known Universe, but I have not rigorously questioned every waiter and waitress about every dish I have put into my mouth and it is entirely possible that I have eaten a bit of wheat in the past twenty-six days. And I'm okay with that. The point is not to be perfect. The point is to try to do something challenging, something uncomfortable, something healthy, and to be honest about the inconsistency inherent in any human endeavor. 

What about you? How have you been inconsistent over the past twenty-six days? How have you pursued progress and not perfection? Don't be afraid to be inconsistently, honestly, human. 

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