For something as flawed as being human, it often feels like we’re obsessed with perfection. Or the idea of it, at least. Perfect face, mind, body, soul, whatever that may look like. Which often leads to a quest not for people who are trying to makes themselves better but rather, those who have never made any mistakes.
And yet, is there anyone who hasn’t done anything foolish in their life?
We’ve all lied, one time or another. For attention, a sick day, or extension on an assignment. We’ve lashed out, taken turns and ignored opportunities we wished we hadn’t. Have trusted the wrong people, ignored the right ones. Stayed silent when we should have spoken up and vice versa, and the list could go on.
Even the reminiscence of our supposed virtues and flaws isn’t perfect. We often exaggerate the former in memory, justify the latter. Most wars were fought on moral grounds, and even Lucifer had wings. To borrow from Shakespeare, “roses have thorns, and silver mountains mud.” Somewhere between the black and white of our idealized pedestals is the gray, boggy surrender of myth and truth.
Consequently, when observed through the high, pristine lens of compartmentalized perfection, every virtue can seem a vice, and every vice, a virtue. As an aspiring writer, making up stories is both, a passion and, God willing, a potential career. Does that make me untrustworthy, or someone with a flair for exaggeration? A comedian who spins a joke out of all life’s tragedies, is he/she someone with a great courage and sense of humor, or a delusional person refusing to look reality in the eye?
What separates talent from trickery, charm from manipulation, diplomacy from hypocrisy? Where does the coping mechanism end and con begin? Is it intent, or the result? How do you decide those lines in a culture where the only one’s accepted are those who have never errored?
Because let’s face it, most of us are just fumbling through life. We keep making the same errors even though we promised to do better. Be better. Making that vow is the easiest thing ever. Implementing it, now, probably the hardest ever.
But then, that’s the beauty of it, I suppose. Regrets, flaws and the conscious potential to overcome them is what makes us damnably, gloriously human.
Still, the question remains: Where do you go when the world, virtual and otherwise, supports none of it? It’s a place Google maps cannot help me find.