According to the calendar, today is National Fail Miserably Day again! So let loose—embrace disaster, let the clothes sit in the washer, burn your dinner, and bounce a check.
Though it could be said with more eloquence, the idea today is that we’re going to fight back against the messages that tell us that it’s perfection or bust. That our value is determined by what we do and how perfectly we do it. That we’re not quite good enough as we are.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a problem with self-improvement or reaching a little higher. I’m all for it most of the time. But every now and then, I think it’s appropriate to stop wherever we are and practice a little self-acceptance. To stop running from the attributes in ourselves we loathe and give them a moment to shine. To dress up in failure and embrace what it has to teach us, cause I’m telling you—it ain’t all bad.
To steal from my own words on this day last year:
I tried to be perfect for a long time, but eventually I couldn’t keep up with my culture’s standards of perfection, not to mention my own. In my mind, there was an endless list of Things I Should Be Doing Much, Much Better if I’m Ever Going to Amount to Anything. As soon as I felt I’d mastered one thing, I filled its spot with six new things that I completely sucked at. I was running ragged, barely one step ahead of my worst fear: Failure.
Eventually, and despite my best efforts, failure caught up with me. And instead of being consumed in its blackness, I was brought to life by its vivid colors. I had been wrong—perfection was the blackness, a strict black line with no time or room for such frivolities as laughter, exploration, or even oxygen.
It’s the same idea that makes a beautiful teenage girl look in the mirror with disgust. It’s the same idea that causes my brilliant husband to think that at any moment someone is going to come and inform him that he’s been kicked out of graduate school because he’s just not bright enough. It’s the same idea that leaves a mother feeling inadequate because the house is messy more often than it’s not. It’s the same idea that keeps us from trying anything new or taking any risks, because (as if it isn’t obvious, right?) we’re not good at stuff like that.
Today I give myself permission to do the following:
*Aim for average
*Eat without checking calories and fat content
*Leave the bed unmade
*Admit that I leave the bed unmade most days
*Fart around my friends
*Let the garbage pile up
*Acknowledge my silly fears
*Give people a break
*Leave my blinker on
*Admit my mistakes
*Say no without explaining myself
*Use a stinky dishrag
*Live with low expectations
*Accept myself and loved ones exactly as we are. Right now. As if we would never change at all.
And because every worthy campaign needs a poster child, I volunteer myself right now. Fresh from my morning walk without makeup or a brush; knowing that sometimes putting my best foot forward means showing myself exactly as I am.
So here I am. This is me. And you are you. And we’re good enough.
How will you celebrate today?