There’s something about perfectly coiffed hair paired with the perfect outfit that is matched with perfectly lovely accessories that just makes me, well, cringe. Doesn’t it seem unnatural, perfection. I mean how is there not a single hair out of place and how did you possibly find a jacket that so succinctly ties your entire look together? That doesn’t stop our world from being plastered with this ideal, pinterest is a breeding ground for perfection idealization. We all know that this is unrealistic. I’m, personally, am more comfortable looking slightly like a dirtbag at any time. I don’t want there to be stains on my shirt and holes in my pants, but I’d like to look like I actually wear the clothes I walk around in. I’d like to look like I actually exist in the real world.
I was out one evening at a local establishment taking in a musical act or two and I couldn’t help but notice this one guy. This guy looked like he stepped out of a Hipster photo shoot. Just the perfect amount of feathers dangling over a bare chest under a golden brown suede leather jacket. He had a great tress of hair, likely held back with an oh so trendy headband (my memory is a little foggy.) The point is that this guy, mr. photoshop, looked out of place. He didn’t look real, or authentic, he looked made up. As I eventually found out he was as he was the lead singer for the main act, he was made up. Made up to play this perfect part. So to summarize as succinctly as possible: perfection starts to look fake when applied to reality.
But this got me thinking, I can so easily throw out this concept of a perfect look, I’ll wear head to toe black because pretty makes me uncomfortable, embrace and love a somewhat disheveled mane, relish the holes in my denim jacket, and take pride in the mud on my boots but I can’t stop my thoughts tracing back to this ideal lifestyle we’ve been told to strive for.
Sit quiet. Grow up. Get a job. Buy a house. Be happy.
In school I strived for perfect grades. In life I strive to make people happy. In work I strive to do the responsible thing. We must maintain the quiet status quo because the perfection we’re after requires we tow the line, ruffle no feathers, take no risks. But why? The risk takers are the ones out there having fun. Any counter culture, however, is quickly discredited as hippies, commies, and general nut jobs. I’m not saying we jump off the deep here, I’m just wondering why we(I) can so easily say that no one has to look perfect but still want to have that perfect life?
I was lucky enough to move to the Netherlands for a short period of time during my undergrad degree and learned a very valuable lesson. We aren’t as alike as we’re led to believe. Different cultures strongly value different aspects of life and the Dutch value the happiness of their children much higher than their academic and extracurricular successes. I was told very clearly while doing a group project in my International Communications class that most Dutch students strive for a passing grade of 6 or 7 out of 10 because striving for perfection is unrealistic.
Striving for perfection is unrealistic.
Lets refocus and strive for things that bring us to life, strive for things that make us laugh, and strive for things that make us kinder, better people.