Everyone has his faults which he continually repeats; neither fear nor shame can cure them.
Jean de La Fontaine

I don't even want to be perfect
From my Art Journal: A Perfect Mess: I don’t even want to be perfect!

Is it a contradiction in terms
to call your art and your life “a perfect mess” – or is it the only thing that can be perfect? I am not sure but I love that expression, and I enjoy my messes because they are a part of me/my life. Otherwise I don’t believe in “perfect” and I don’t even want to be perfect… that is why I’m joining Bren Brown’s The Perfect Protest and I am making an art journal page out of it. Why now?

Bren writes:

Being our best selves is about cultivating the courage to be vulnerable, authentic, and imperfect. Perfectionism, on the other hand, is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame. It’s that simple. Perfection is not about healthy striving or being our best, it’s how we protect ourselves.

I just finished reading her book I Thought It Was Just Me, a book about Perfectionism, Inadequacy, and Power. I found it in my library and in Swedish it is simply called Kvinnor och skam (women and shame).

Kvinnor och skam av Brene Brown
I thought it was just me a book about shame written by Bren Brown.

I like the Swedish embroidery inspired cover but I didn’t think this book would have much to do with me though I am always interested in psychology, ideas and learning new things. The only reason I picked it up was because I recognized Bren?’s name from her blog, where there was a read-a-long a while back with podcasts that I checked in on (but couldn’t really follow because I didn’t have the book then).

Anyway, I took it home and got into it quickly and read through the whole book making marks and copying quotes to my diary. It is easy to read, interesting and thought provoking. Reading it makes me wish I was doing social studies and research like this, I think that is another area that I could really enjoy. Reading the book I learned a lot of new things, like the big difference between guilt and shame, and how they both affects our behavior but in very different ways. And that “the cure” for shame is compassion, preached in this book with the same conviction that the Buddhists has (I was studying Buddhist philosophy a bit again this summer)!

Perfect Mess
The whole spread in my Art Journal. The left you might recognize as the matte medium transfer and on the right page I have glued a black and white photo of me and written down my not-perfect-statement. :-)

I also came upon this great quote today:

There is absolutely no substitution for simply doing your work. You will not find your ?voice? until you?ve made a LOT of work. You must give yourself the freedom and space to experiment and learn and grow and become. If you harbor misplaced ideals of perfection, that every piece you make must be a masterpiece, you simply can not progress. You’ve got to play!
Lyric Kinard [via Alma]

The creating of “a lot of work” is the road I am walking, one step at a time. Nothing is perfect but everything about growing and learning.

Further inspiration and courage

Go check out Bren Brown’s book and her blog Ordinary Courage. One of my favorite expressions is I am enough. I sometimes know it is true, and sometimes I need to repeat it as an affirmation. Check out photographer Tracey Clark’s site I am enough and then also A beautiful ripple effect.

And always remember; you don’t need to strive for perfection because you are enough already!