Saturday, September 8, 2012

Losing my Perfection(ism)

One Year ago...
According to my husband, I do have a perfectly shaped head!
I should be good at this, which is a funny way to start a blog post about perfection(ism)- with a "should"- but I guess that's the point. 

With cancer treatments behind me, and all visible signs of the past year and a half no longer front and center, the word survivor seems to be hovering uncomfortably around me. My friend and yoga buddy, Evelyn Zak recently just sent me Susan Gubar's excellent blog post Not a Cancer Survivor from the NYTimes Online. Like Susan and the women in her article, I too, cringe at that term for many, if not all of her reasons.

In particular, the part about being heroic.  We are part of a society where we have, as Susan Gubar states "An American propensity to circulate stories of valiant individuals triumphing over great odds must make people coping with recurrent, chronic or terminal illness feel like duds."  And more often than not these stories include not only triumphing over great odds but often changing their lives, or reinventing themselves, coming out the other side reborn with a new appreciation and outlook on life.

And that's where the perfection(ism) comes in. The need (my need) to be the perfect survivor. The one who is (always) grateful, strong, resilient and inspiring to others as I lose all my bad habits (like perfectionism) and become a modern day Jewish Mother Teresa, while making art and surfing around the world homeschooling my children and giving them a real life meaningful education. 

Often I am or can be any of those things, but not always, and not at the same time. Which makes me wonder if I am a "good enough" survivor.  When I tearfully shared this with another friend recently, we had a good laugh through my tears- at the absurdity of it all. 

So as I disclaim the title Survivor I can give myself permission to lose my perfection(ism) and appreciate the fact that we are all learning how to do this, whatever this is.  

Lose the lable, find a moment of peace. perhaps.

and now that head is covered in waves!

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