You Are Perfect
By Stephanie, age 16, Texas
Have you noticed that the word 'imperfect' splits up to make 'I'm perfect'?
As the years go on and society advances far beyond our general knowledge, we, as humans, have forgotten one simple inevitable fact of life: we are not perfect. With the goal to have the perfect life, the perfect career, the perfect major, the perfect GPA, the perfect transcript, the perfect recommendation letter from the perfect teacher who will love us for being perfect and nothing short of that, we have seemed to forget that we were created to be imperfect, to make mistakes. We have wrongly shamed ourselves into thinking that we must always have the most honorable careers, major in the respectful majors, get into the highest ranked colleges, and achieve that perfect 4.0 average (6.0 on our scale).
And if we don't, which most likely we won't, we view ourselves as failures. We label ourselves as stupid when we don't get a 100 on an 'easy' test. We grumble and moan when someone else scores higher on a test when they didn't study as much. Words such as "stupid", "moron", and "gah" are thrown around a lot more than "smart", "brilliant", or "talented".
Yes, you should strive. Yes, you should try as hard as you can to achieve your goals. But you shouldn't be so pressured to the point where you lose all happiness and joy in life, where you stop seeing the good and start lamenting on the bad. Who established that a score of a 100 means you are competent and a 90 means you are not? Who created the law that if you don't get into an Ivy League school, you are not as worthy as the person who did?
Society did. We did. Our parents did. We deny it sometimes, but it is always there, the rules looming over us. Slowly, but surely, society controls everything we do. Money has value and worth only because society says it does. We follow rules only because society has implanted into our heads that this is right and that is wrong. People who wake up at 12 noon are considered lazy, no matter what they were doing the night before. And why? Because society has already generalized waking up in the afternoon as an act of the lazy and unmotivated.
As people, we are meant to be different, to make different choices, and lead different lives. One of the best things about life is learning. And learning only comes from foolishness and experiences. What does the perfect person have to learn? Why live if you already know everything? Those who say that life is not measured by the number of breaths in one's life, but by the number of moments that take one's breath away are right. And the only way to have those breathless moments is to take risks, be foolish, and learn wisely. Why is it so wrong to make mistakes? No one is perfect; everyone makes mistakes. So why is it viewed so negatively to be imperfect?
If you think about it, all of the happy moments in our life come from those so-called mistakes. If you hadn't screwed up on that one question, you wouldn't have learned from such a valuable mistake. If you hadn't tripped on that sidewalk, your future husband wouldn't have stopped to help you up. If you hadn't been so depressed from your current job, you would have never quit and tried to create a happier life. If you had never sinned like Hester did in The Scarlet Letter, you would have never had that one shining Pearl in your life.
We view our 'flaws' as something to hide, always wanting to prove others wrong by achieving what we view as greatness. Society says that to be mistaken is to be incompetent, and incompetency is unattractive. However, a robot is perfect, but do you view a robot as attractive? Coffee machines are perfect; under perfect conditions, they perform their job with 100% accuracy - to make coffee. But all these perfect things don't emote, they don't write, they don't smile, they don't fight. They don't live. They perform their jobs perfectly, until it is their time to go, and then they silently leave, only to be replaced. People are meant to make mistakes, learn from them, and grow and flourish. You ARE your mistakes. They create the layers that define you.
So, in a sense, because of our imperfections, we are truly perfect. Perfection leads to consistency. Imperfections lead to spontaneity. Think about the happiest moment of your life. I'm willing to bet that you didn't get that memory from being perfect. Imperfections and mistakes make us better people; we feel and emote from the imperfections in life. And emotions are what separate us from robots. So, you see, the imperfections make us who we are - humans.