Thursday, October 11, 2012

Practically Perfect

There's a societal epidemic at large... it's attacking homes, families, children.  It's contagious.  It's rampant.
It's feeding off the innocent and the weak.  It's infiltrating the minds of decent humans beings and turning them into...
Or the essence of that.  Whatever.

My husband's addiction cured me of it.  Isn't that crazy?  I'd love to see a doc prescribe it:
"Doctor, I've been having the strangest symptoms.  I wake up frazzled, I spend my day just trying to do the normal routine things a perfect mother should do, and then I go to bed having fallen short.  I hate myself.  I don't know what the matter with me is!  I can't seem to keep up with other normal mothers.  Surely, there's something I can take..."
"Certainly," the doctor says, hardly looking up from his prescription pad.  He's seen cases like this before... many times before.  He's scribbling, scribbling, scribbling, then riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip.
"Here," he hands you a slip, "Take this down to the pharmacy.  They'll fix you up with a porn addict.  It will be rough at first, but if you can stick with it you're guaranteed to be cured of what ails you now."
"Oh, thank you, Doctor!  Thank you very much!"

You pick your addict up, take him home, and chaos ensues.
He's sweet and helpful, and then he's irritable and selfish.  You try to please him like a perfect host should, and he balks.  But then he apologizes.  He isn't so bad... unless he steps on a lego, or stubs his toe, or it's windy, or the temperature of the house is slightly uncomfortable, or or or...

On top of hosting an addict, you're baking and crafting and lesson-planning.  You're canning and sewing and writing timely thank-you notes.  Your hair is kept.  Your clothes are in style (more or less).  You're constantly cleaning.
After two days, you crack under the pressure.  You just can't DO it ALL anymore.  
You sob, you pray, and your addict knocks on the bathroom door (because that's where you do all your crying, right?) and wonders about dinner.

You stand up, use your handmade apron to wipe the mascara pouring from your eyes and you order take out.
Then you call housekeeping help in.
Your hair gets flung into a ponytail and you opt for sweats and a comfy tee -things that are hardy enough to not need the sissy protection of a handmade, vintage-style apron.
You run to the store and buy the peaches already in cans.  You put the sewing machine away and buy the $7 butcher apron in the kitchen aisle.

You cancel piano lessons, t-ball, and dance class.  You pull your children close to you.  You spend your afternoons in hammocks reading insightful, life-changing literature.  When your neighbors walk by in their sporty "workout" clothes and flashy iPods, you wave and mutter something like, "ehhhmm" without looking up from your book.
They whisper to each other.
You couldn't care less.

You spend more time alone, more time praying, more time asking The Good Doctor about life and yourself and fear.
You start to remember what YOU like to do instead of what the neighbors are doing.  The Good Doctor, who has treated you all your life, reminds you of what made you happy when you were 4, 10 and 14.  You start taking your journal to the hammock with you.
The pen calluses your hands -the words pour from your heart straight to your page, teaching your mind things it didn't know.  
How is your addict?  Well, at this point.
Frankly, Scarlett... 

Eventually you emerge from your hammock and sweats.  You start a soothing self-care routine of all-encompassing health.
It's yoga, it's meditation, it's prayer, it's lots of water and more veggies and less doughnuts.
You cleanse your mind, your soul... your surroundings.  

Your hobbies become you -your life starts to take shape as you realize your beauty, your worth, your potential to become so much more than a Stepford Wife.

You're less censored in your speech, more open about your weaknesses.  You take pictures, even if the house is dirty.  You GET IN those pictures, even if you look like an unidentifiable abused amphibian.  People don't like this about you, but for the first time in your life: you. don't. care.  because you're feeling good that you even made it through the gigantic pile of dishes without losing yourself in a heap of mold, or something.
And you love.
You celebrate.


You visit your cousin without jealousy over her newly renovated home.  Your competitive spirit that came out to play the minute you walked through your sister-in-law's home simply dies.  
Your mouth doesn't even twitch when she repeatedly announces that she wants to be THE BEST anything and everything there ever was.
Instead of feeling a sense of inadequacy, a sense of failure, a sense of destitution...
You feel compassion for the afflicted.

You drive your addict back to the Pharmacy.  When you first met him, you would have never believed what you were about to say.
"Thank you for your pornography addiction," you shake his hand, "Really, thank you."
And then you peel outta the parking lot, your ponytail flapping in the breeze.

As you drive home, you feel the strength of your immune system.  You're a survivor.  You crank your tunes and treat yourself to a Route 44 Ocean Water at Sonic.

You've been cured of Perfectionism.

You call The Good Doctor, and gush out your thanks even though it may or may not be in a timely manner.  His tone is all warmth as he encourages you to share what you've learned.  

How do you share your message of healing?  your remedies?
You be REAL.  You go to church even if you don't look put together.  You open your home to visitors, even if there's laundry on the couch (and floor).  
And since you've stopped worrying about yourself so much, an entirely new world unfolds in front of your eyes -a world FULL of people inflicted with all manner of diseases!  And while you can't cure or even TREAT what they have, you can show compassion and give them something to eat when they're too tired to cook.  You can give them something to laugh about when they profess that there IS NOTHING TO LAUGH ABOUT.  
In short: you can give.  Period.
Living With a Porn Addict has taught you that a life of keeping up, of "doing it all" is really a cheap substitute for the rich life that was waiting for you.

Oh, that Good Doctor.  That wonderfully great Good Doctor -who, as a matter of fact -was listening intently to your complaints, who knew just what was needed, and who knows it all.
Shouldn't everyone have a Doctor so Good?

Everyone does.  

And while he may not have SENT me a porn addict, he certainly worked through him to cure me of my Perfectionism.
I went from a quest to attain mediocrity to a quest to embrace reality, and I gotta say: oh, life is so good.
EVEN with my small rental, my inability to decorate like Martha Stew, my pointed nose, and my inability to ever really finish the laundry... life is OH so imperfectly good.


  1. This is brilliant. And SO true, at least for now. I wonder if it will last, but I feel so OK with being imperfect right now and when I see other people I feel so much more compassion. It's crazy.

    Although I get kind of annoyed when other people are walking around pretending to be perfect. I just want to say, "Ahhh...cut the act, it's ok to be imperfect!" (Especially my addict!)

  2. My husband is such a perfectionist. I saw a pin on pinterest that said, "Done is better than perfect" and I just loved it so much. I think I'll have it etched on my headstone.

    For years, he's been so hard on himself for messing up. I've gently told him, "You don't have to be perfect at recovery. You just have to be IN it."
    A few months ago, he emerged from a reading session and came directly to me side and announced something he JUST discovered for the FIRST TIME EVER.
    "I've been trying to do this recovery stuff PERFECTLY and that's what's holding me back!"
    He expected me to be proud and happy with his new discovery. Imagine his confusion when I stuck my head in the oven instead.
    Gotta love it!

  3. Stuck your head in the oven! haha You are so funny. :) What would us downtrodden WOPA's do without your humor?!

  4. funny! its really encouraged my in my state of "do nothing today" to really just embrace the nothingness of it all. I mean, i really could do a lot! my toddler has mono...MONO! Dr says he must be sneaking out at night. huh? my 10 year old colored her name on the side of the house with a crayon. There is a funny smell coming from the family room...i should go investigate. but naw. I too have been cured of perfection.

    1. I'm cheering you on in my sweats. Or would be if I could FIND my sweats... So you'll have to settle for a cheerleader in fat maternity pants.
      And mono? What the eff?!

  5. Thankyou, this is so well written, and so incredibly true. I was a stay at home mom, doing it all, and now I am working full time, going to school full time with kids in daycare, and I have never been so happy. Who knew? It isn't the job or daycare, it is the joy of being out of the mind set of where I was doing it all and never happy. The Legos were so spot on. Love it. All of it