Ever since I can remember I have strived for excellence and perfection in every aspect of my life. From a young age, I had created a self imposed pressure to be the best at everything I do.
As a student, this mindset made me take pride in my work and helped me find joy in learning. I extended it far beyond the walls of school, as I carried it through extracurriculars, friendships, work, and my family life. Although this eagerness to achieve has resulted in fruitful opportunities and a multitude of graduation cords, it had catastrophic effects on my self-esteem.
Each personal victory raised my standard of success higher and higher, until one day I found it beyond my reach– an unattainable entity that I seemingly needed to reach to feel accomplished. Every time I fell short of the bar I set for myself I couldn’t help but internally crumble. My success in the eyes of others felt like failure in my own. That was until I came to a not-so-cliche realization: I will never be perfect, and that’s okay.
That’s not to say that I won’t be outstanding, amazing, or great, but someone will always be better. A better writer, student, test-taker, athlete, citizen, or friend. Weirdly, this sentiment is one that helps me sleep at night. What makes us each unique is our specific combination of strengths and weaknesses, which is unparalleled by anyone else. Not only are we created to be imperfect, but our individuality is rooted in our imperfections.
My mom taught me how to communicate through ASL when I was a baby, but the only sign I remember is “I love you.” I get cold in 70 degree weather. When I go on walks I only let myself take two steps per sidewalk square. I find it hard to sit through movies because I feel like it’s an inefficient use of time. I tend to cut people off in conversations when I get excited.
At first glance these come off as negative, but upon further inspection there is beauty hiding behind each flaw. I can’t remember any of the other signs because I used I love you the most, and I cut people off in conversations when I want to ask them more questions.
I am caring, loving, kind hearted, empathetic, and smart– but I am imperfect. These past few years of high school have taught me to lower the standard to which I hold myself. They taught me that I don’t need to be perfect to realize that I’m perfectly made, and the things which I previously saw as flaws actually make me who I am. They make me real. And I wouldn’t trade them for the world.