I recently had a conversation with someone about the concept of viewing one’s self through the eyes of another, and how despite some people’s seemingly perfect personas, we all possess at least one fatal flaw. Perhaps it was because it was 12 am and I was rather sleep deprived, but the depth of these seemingly simple thoughts really shook me. There is a bittersweet feeling to this type of thought process, because although it is satisfying to think of the attributes of myself that others would certainly love: my lips, my hair, my ethnicity, my curves, my smile, my free spirit, it was equally as unsatisfying to think of what people could hate, which very well could be, anything.
I think it’s important to recognize that perfection is unattainable. This has been proved time and time again – in my own life, in the lives of people I know, in history, in art, in literature, even in Frankenstein. So, why do we bother with it? It seems rather useless – to aim for a standard that has never truly been established, and yet, we do.
Could this be one of our fatal flaws?
The answer to that question is one I do not know.
What I do believe however, is that us as humans are lucky enough to have such a purpose in our lives. We are lucky enough to know that we have the power to control what we can and cannot do, and we are lucky to have the power to decide whether our flaws should help or hinder us on our journey through life… and I believe some people take that for granted.
And so at this point in the conversation, I couldn’t help but think of The Monster, and I began to think, “What must it be like to only view one’s self through the views of others?”
In my conversation, I was asked to explain perfection, and all I seemed to say was this:
“Perfection is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It doesn’t exist, and yet we like to convince ourselves that it does, because in all honestly, I think we are more in love with the journey than we are of the destination. The journey is what shapes us.”
Now, to relate this explanation to the definition of perfection. It’s ironic how the definition literally says that the condition of being perfect means that you must be free of all possible flaws and defects. How does that work? How could we possibly rid ourselves of ALL of our flaws when it is those is that makes us up entirely?
And here is where I really began to pity The Monster. To me, the idea of abandoning such vital parts of my being was too difficult to conceptualize. Whether they be flaws or not, they are still me, and whether people choose to love my hair or my smile, or perhaps even hate both of those things about me, they are still me. Yet, for a person who is nothing more than a creation, who really doesn’t have any flaws, it must be rather easy to abandon one’s self when they didn’t see the beauty of the who they were to begin with. The monster was a blank canvas and he was thrown out into the world without even the slightest idea as to who he was and what his flaws were. So, how could he have possibly pursued a self righteous journey to perfection when he didn’t even know what that path was supposed to look like? The Monster emulated the ideals of others, and in naivety shaped a belief that he felt obligated to follow, and can we blame him?
And so, as I was talking to this individual, and as I was explaining the importance in striving for perfection, despite it being an unreachable task, I just felt lucky. Because at least I can find the benefit in other’s perceptions of me, and because, through the pursuit of my (unattainable) ideas of perfection, I am able to find myself. I am lucky to say that I am able to realize that my imperfections make me stronger, and so, despite the fact that I pity the monster for not being able to realize this in himself, I am thankful that I am able to realize that in me.