This is What Perfection Looks Like

Todd Brison

The power saw spun, just below her eyes, blade whirring through the air. That’s when time stopped.

My wife and I stood, side by side, at the workbench in our basement. For a while now, we’ve been renovating the kitchen. This day’s task — cut beadboard for the new backsplash.

Well, let me be more specific. Her job was to cut beadboard for the new backsplash. My job, as the man of the house, was to hold the wood, carry things where she needed them, and provide emotional support. (Life works much better when I’m not using the power tools).

“Now, let me check to see if I drew this line right.” she said, stringing the tape measure across the plank.

“Of course it’s right,” she said.

“I’m perfect.”

She smiled at me, joking of course. But as she brought the saw up to make the cut much like she had done before, my world stopped moving for me.

“I’m perfect.”

Despite everything she dislikes about herself, at this moment, she felt free to say the words:

“I’m perfect.”

As a completely average white male, I see so messaging trying to sell me products, I get physically sick. As a woman, I know she gets 10 times the messages I do.

All of these messages are telling her why her life, her looks, her house, her status, her clothes, are not as good as they could be. She is pummeled, day after day, with attempts to remind her how much she lacks in life before letting her know they have a solution to her misery (what a coincidence!).

“I’m perfect.”

Kate did not enjoy the traditional school path. Sitting in a classroom wasn’t fun for her. She is not a nerd like I am. Because of her poor experience there, she spent too much time believing she is not good at much.

I know better.

“I’m perfect.”

I have not heard these two words — I’m perfect — come out of Kate’s mouth much. I don’t know if I ever have. But there, in the basement, where she was operating in the area of her talent and literally working toward a better future for herself, they slipped out.

“I’m perfect.”

Maybe you’ve felt the same way Kate has. Maybe you wonder if you don’t have anything to offer the world. Maybe you feel worthless.

If you have ever felt any of those things, I want to challenge you with this:

Do more of what you love. Do it as often as you can.

Set aside the expectations and pressures and made-up standards the world has to offer and do what fills you up. Don’t do it to make a paycheck. Do it because it makes you whole.

You are not checking a box. You are not taking a test. You are doing what you love.

You are perfect.

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Dickson, TN

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