pomegranate gore

Here’s the problem with perfect; it’s achievable, but not sustainable.
You can do it for a night, a day, an event, maybe a while.
You can starve yourself skinny or primp yourself pretty, or hoover your whole house until it’s entirely fluff-free. It just doesn’t last, and unless you’re an unemployed millionairess without any children, there simply isn’t the time to sustain that shit.

Apologies for all the swearing, but I’ve had some wine, and I’m feeling pretty mad.

Perfect lures you in because you got there once; it seems like all that stands between you and the continual repetition of that success is the time and the effort. You’d be perfect if only you weren’t so lazy. Things would be right if it weren’t for X/Y/Z.

I caught the end of something on Radio 4 the other week; a wealthy English man talking about his mother, about the old upper classes, about their crumbling country homes full of tattered rugs and packs of whippets.
They don’t care about perfect, he said, because when you know the rules inside out, you’re happy to break them.

vscocam pomegranate gore
iPhone blog photos, just to prove how much I’m letting go

As women in particular, we’re peddled the perfect-myth a lot. I’ve had a break from TV, & lately have returned to watching shows online. What struck me and Rory both is the sheer volume of perfectionist bullshittery being pushed at women in TV ads; perfect this, flawless that. Close-ups of women’s faces being revolved slowly on screen, painstakingly airbrushed to remove all trace of the £3.99 orange foundation they’re supposedly touting.
Well I’m not buying it; literally, figuratively – whatever.

Letting go of perfect has been the single most liberating, empowering act of my adult life. I think it helps that I’m always so tired; in the end, I just don’t have the energy to waste on perfect hanging baskets and ironing my sodding bedsheets.
If that works for you, that’s awesome, but please don’t judge my mental faculties or quality of life on how shiny my doorstep & letterbox are. This isn’t 1955, & the Joneses have new, liberal neighbours with a completely radical set of new ideals and values.

Let’s all just be, and enjoy our lives, and leave the hoovering & the shiny-shiny til tomorrow, or perhaps next week.
It’ll never be perfect, anyway.

34 Comments

  • armn

  • April 30, 2016

To be honest, this is the first time I’ve heard a person ironing their bedsheet. I’ve never done it through the whole 20++ years of my life. Nor my family practice it. Now i wonder, why it didn’t occur to me whenever I saw a perfectly smooth bedsheet in advert photos, I mean of course people can iron it, it’s made up of cloth! But all this while I just though they come out of production as it is, perfectly smooth. Weird.

  • Annabel Beeforth

  • April 07, 2016

RIGHT. ON.
Soon as I accepted that that mountain of washed clothes that hasn’t been folded and put away and that has now formed a kind of mountainous assault course in my bedroom aint going to get sorted anytime soon, and that I’m not perfect because of it, life just felt good. That’s what mum visits are for anyone, so they can do the ironing you never do and put your clothes and shit away. Right?

  • Sarah Christie

  • February 21, 2016

I love this, I totally get you here, I embrace not being perfect, I am happy in my own bubble of imperfection

  • Kizzy

  • January 28, 2016

Love this post. I wrote something similar last week about comparison and how it makes me feel as though I’m not good enough. Perfection is ok but being authentic is what I am striving for now.

  • TabbyMetcalfe

  • January 28, 2016

Hi Sara. I’ve just discovered your blog as it was mentioned in the Jan edition of The Simple Things. I’ve spent the last few days
reading through all your entries. You write SO beautifully. This post really struck such a chord with me as I’ve been through a massive shift in perspective recently. I’ve had enough of the tyranny of ‘must-do’ & ‘should-do’ & ‘could-be…if you just tried a little bit harder’ that seems to be pushed on us from all sides, so I made a change that was small but HUGE all at the same time. I stopped dyeing my hair. I’d spent 20 years conforming to the beauty industry standard & covering up the supposedly terrible, ageing grey. For two whole decades I’d wasted my time worrying about the colour fading & my roots showing, and it’d also cost me a bloody fortune! So in October last year, I finally thought fuck this and I stopped. (it helped that I have a pixie cut & didn’t have to look like a slightly faded badger for too long!) My husband & my daughters (they’re 15 & 13), were utterly horrified. “You’re going to look SO OLD!” they all wailed. Four months later, I’m totally grey at 45 and I DON’T CARE! I feel happier, I think I look better, and possibly…. dare I say it… younger (although that may just be my fabulous bathroom lighting!) because my hair is now the right shade for my complextion. I LOVE my natural colour and so do my husband and my girls. My eldest now thinks it’s cool to have a silver-haired mother who wears skinny jeans, boots and a biker jacket! So yes, fuck perfect, it’s our imperfections that need to be embraced and celebrated!

P.S – Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve read your post to both my girls. I’m determined to help them avoid the perfect face/body/life-trap with all its scary implications and to encourage them to live as beautifully-imperfect, interesting young women instead! Tx

  • Phillipa

  • January 27, 2016

Lovely read thank you. My issue with perfect is it makes me a mean grumpy moo cow to my kids! They certainly don’t want my idea of perfect!

  • Sara Tasker

  • January 24, 2016

tongue twister and brain twister! but definitely true. I wonder how long it would take in a totally homogenous actualised ‘perfect’ society for everyone to start valuing the differences?

  • Sara Tasker

  • January 24, 2016

Yes! Better, always improving, but never perfect. As you say, that’d be totally dull. Even Mary Poppins was only ‘practically perfect’! 😉 x

  • Sara Tasker

  • January 24, 2016

Very wise words Amy! & I feel like nobody talks about this. Everyone is all ‘there’s no such thing as perfect’ but it’s hard to believe when you see it in other people’s pictures and social media etc. The truth is, their kids party or whatever might be completely perfect, but it’s likely that something else in their life probably went to shit to allow for that, & that’s totally normal 😀

  • Sara Tasker

  • January 24, 2016

Such a great point! I heard of a wedding recently that was themed ‘better than perfect’. What a hideous amount of pressure! The very idea of perfect makes me want to take a nap for a month!

  • Sara Tasker

  • January 24, 2016

<3 x

  • Sara Tasker

  • January 24, 2016

And that’s the trick, I guess! 🙂 x

  • Sara Tasker

  • January 24, 2016

Perfect body is the biggest lie ever. In the words of Regina – ‘I’ve got a perfect body but sometimes I forget. I’ve got a perfect body because my eyelashes catch my sweat’. If it works, it’s perfect x

  • Sara Tasker

  • January 24, 2016

You’re welcome! I think we all did 🙂 xx

  • Sara Tasker

  • January 24, 2016

Thanks Carolyn! Down with perfectionism! x

  • Sara Tasker

  • January 24, 2016

😀 hurray! So happy to hear that Lucy x

  • Sara Tasker

  • January 24, 2016

hahaha! “if it was me, it would have been left for another month’. YES. R is always way more bothered than I am about hoovering! & thank you lovely Lou. Likewise! xox

  • Sara Tasker

  • January 24, 2016

<3 x

  • Sara Tasker

  • January 24, 2016

Thanks Coline. It’s so tempting to always show perfection on a blog or social media – I’ve found it can make me feel more ‘in control’ and more appreciative of the good stuff in my life. But ultimately it becomes damaging, and false, and just another standard to uphold in life. Messy is where’s it’s at! x

  • Sara Tasker

  • January 24, 2016

‘relentless joy thief’. Yes yes yes!

  • Sara Tasker

  • January 24, 2016

I’m v glad to hear that Lauren! Totally relate to that cycle of worry. Perfection is so seductive!

  • Sara Tasker

  • January 24, 2016

The best comment 😀 x

  • Emma R

  • January 23, 2016

This. This. This. This. This is the shit. Thank you.

  • Lauren

  • January 21, 2016

Exactly what I needed to read today, Sara, your writing always hits the mark. Sometimes I struggle with the idea of a kind of “perfect imperfection” too, and get jealous of the ease with which other people seem to not care and still their life looks amazing. Then I have to remind myself that I’ve just come back full circle to the worries where I started!

  • Belinda Norrington

  • January 19, 2016

Absolutely could not agree more. Perfectionism is a relentless joy thief. There is still plenty of room for beauty and growth and happiness without the grinding anxiety that perfection creates. X

  • Sara

  • January 18, 2016

AMEN!

  • Caleigh86

  • January 18, 2016

I read a few blogs that always advertise their posts as the ‘the perfect this’ or ‘how to have the perfect that’ and honesty it drives me up the wall. I don’t want perfect. It’s not attainable for me. I am seriously flawed. I mean, we all are! I want wonderful, awesome, amazing, fantabulous, super, -whatever- but I don’t want perfect. Because just like beauty, perfection is in the eye of the beholder. Even the idea of being ‘perfectly imperfect’ implies that it is still perfect, just from a different perspective. No thanks. One of my mottos is: Stay Away From Perfect.

  • Lou | Littlegreenshed

  • January 18, 2016

err we are NOT stepford wives. Bollox to perfect. Dan is currently hoovering our bedroom. If it was me, it would have been left for another month. High fives to not being perfect (although to me, you are! in the best possible way 😉 )

  • Amy Elizabeth

  • January 18, 2016

So true, and a much-needed reminder for me at this time of year! I can be perfect at one or two things for a short while, but it inevitably means that something else gets left in the gutter. It reminds me of that saying ‘You can have it all… just not at the same time’.

A little bit of imperfection is a very good thing. Whilst balance is another impossible thing to achieve, I feel a lot closer to some sort of balance when everything is a little bit imperfect.

  • fionabailey

  • January 18, 2016

There’s no fun in being perfect… it’s just exhausting!!! We can all strive to be better versions of ourselves.. that’s enough. Life really is too short to iron bed sheets!!!

  • Nia

  • January 18, 2016

Yes! I’m so sick of the adverts pushing this so-called perfect ideal onto women and girls. The truth is – here comes a tongue-twister – there’s a certain perfection in being imperfect. If everyone was the same airbrushed person, life would be dull.

  • Marianne Andresen

  • January 18, 2016

Amen!

  • Sheona

  • January 18, 2016

I’m ok about my zofloraed, sometimes obsessively clean (sometimes really not) house. It doesn’t stress me out. My body and personal life however…. ?

  • Marie

  • January 18, 2016

Thank you? I needed that!!!

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