Almost three and a half years ago I was thrown into the world of the grieving parent. At the time, I was in a highly alert state, taking words that were said to me and dissecting them one by one. Sometimes people said things that I found confusing, and maybe even hurtful. I started reading…
Being a perfectionist is a struggle, it is a gift and a curse.
I put so much pressure on myself and always have; to do my best, to be the best, to show up my best. It allows me to create my best work and even though the pressure is internally charged, sometimes the stress is horrendous.
When it comes to anything related to my daughter, the pressure mounts.
I freeze. I question. I feel unworthy. I am unable to move forward for fear that I am not doing her justice. Anything I could possibly create in honor of her pales in comparison to her perfection.
This has held me back but also propelled me forward. When I follow my heart without listening to that inner critic, the results are astounding. The things I have accomplished and contributed are surprising even to me. But, if I give that inner critic voice to weigh in an opinion, I doubt my own value. I don’t feel good enough. I wonder who am I to think that I can make a difference, or that my offerings matter.
Throughout my daughter’s brief life (of 33 days) my husband and I learned of many diagnoses that deemed our perfect daughter “imperfect”, yet our love for her only magnified.
We began saying “imperfections are what make us perfect” and it has been our mantra the last 6 years. In that time, we have both completely stepped outside our comfort zone. We have sought after goals that we previously never dreamed. We have faced fears that really scared us, but proceeded anyway. We have chanced failure and known that the possibility of success far outweighed the risk to get there.
And even in all of this, I feel inadequate. I know that my sweet, perfect Ruthie Lou cannot be matched by anything I could possibly create in this life and it gives me anxiety, often leaving me short-winded.
I have to constantly remind myself of the unconditional love that was reciprocated between my daughter, husband and me. The pure, innocent love that a parent feels for their child is also the same love that we must give to ourselves. There is always room for grace and beauty and often times we are the ones who need it most.
I learned from my daughter that time is limited and that life is love. It has forced me to ignore the voice of doubt and live as she did, offering my best gifts to the world. The love that exuded from her 6 lb 9 oz little baby body touched every heart who met her. If I am able to make a fraction of the impact that she did, then I must keep moving forward.
I don’t know the amount of time I have left here on this Earth so the choices I make matter.
I must decide carefully the energy that I spend, how I use my time, how I show up in the world. These are all conscious choices. I don’t know if I will have another 33 days or 33 years so if I am to get my message into the world, I need to act now even when I doubt myself.
I remind myself that everything I do in honor of my daughter is propelled by my intense love for her. It gives me the courage to move forward knowing that I am imperfectly perfect and even if I fail, the true failure would be not trying at all.