A Breakup Letter to Perfection

Dear Perfection,

You should know, first and foremost, that you are a falsity. I write to you now as a past jilted lover, and now a grateful ex. I have craved a meaningful relationship with you, but we both know this has only ever ended in circles. I have always been the one doing the chasing, and never have I quite caught up to you. I won’t lie—I still harbor a longing for you. Sometimes the desire burns hot and heavy. 

Yet, it is time for me to let go. The chase has to end. You and I...we’re done. And it’s not me; it’s you. 

Like so many couples during the past year, quarantine brought us closer, and not always in good ways. Because I wasn’t spending time with many other people, I could devote all of my energies to you. Without external distractions, my pursuit of you became all the more ardent. Perfection, I doted on you in your resolute elusiveness. And I grew (finally) to resent you. It was overdue. 

Person sitting on grass writing in journal Photo by Stocksnap on Pixabay

There are many ways in which my life has not changed in the past several months. My social circle is still small as it was at the beginning of quarantine. I am still alone with my thoughts and feelings more often than I ever have been before. There are many moments in which I find it difficult to leave you behind...I find myself tracking the food I eat, trying to ensure that it is perfectly healthy, perfectly filling, perfectly tasty. I measure the amount I read and write in a day. Is it sufficient? Is it perfect? I mandate my time spent exercising and talking to other people and earning money, trying to find a balance in all things that will eventually bring me to you, Perfection. I see now that while my daily activities are not problematic in and of themselves, my goal—the goal of reaching you—is. I cannot continue to pursue something that will never stop to let me catch my breath. 

As I move away from you and your uniquely magnetic orbit, there is something I am moving towards. How can I put this lightly? Yes, there is someone else. Maybe it’s a rebound for now, but I think it could turn to love. Now, when I bake bread I try not to worry if I’ve let the dough rise longer than recommended. When I eat so much that I feel bloated, I take a breath and try to expel you from my thoughts. I remind myself that it is okay, it’s just temporary. It bears no significance on my personality. When I stay inside for most of the day, I try not to chastise myself for being lazy or for neglecting your expectations of me. I try to appreciate the rare relaxation, the elegance of ease. 

woman stretching in bed Photo by Bruce Mars from Unsplash

I am leaving you, Perfection, for Imperfection. But it is more than that. I’m leaving you for Appreciation, for Generosity, for Compassion, for Quiet, for Faith, for Humility. I am leaving you for all of the things that you have whispered for me to push to the sidelines. My infatuation with you has led me to forget the more sincere aspects of life. I have neglected a fundamental sense of caring for others and for myself in return for this paltry shadow of a relationship that you have bestowed upon me. When everything is about you, Perfection, it is easy to push Compassion and Generosity to the side. Now, I welcome them to the forefront. In place of you, I will be kind to myself. In place of you, I will devote more time to those I love. In place of you, I will stop chasing balance and let it find me.

Signed Sincerely,

An Aspiring Imperfectionist