Are You Imperfect in Your Own Perfect Way?

…I read the words “imperfect, in my own perfect way” some weeks ago. They were in a daily or monthly horoscope but I can’t recall which one. The words however, stayed in my thoughts through the days and weeks that followed and I often caught myself smiling at some dumb thing I’d said or done and then I’d think, imperfect, in my own perfect way.

It was so validating, such a self-esteem booster to understand that I’m okay just as I am: flaws, warts, the occasional zit, or extra pound or three. We often go through our lives worried about how we shape up. Concerned about if we are smart enough, slim enough, or rich enough, and life slips on by while we’re worrying about these inconsequential things. I was the perfect example of this when I was younger. Perfection was always desired and never achieved. Perfection is a slippery beast. It wasn’t until I reached my middle years that I realized I’d spent years putting emphasis on the superficial.

This is a photo taken around Christmas time in 1950, in Tasmania. I’m the little blond in the lower right corner. Blond? I know. Go figure. Anyway the photo had been badly damaged and crumpled. We didn’t have many photos from our early years. So this was a treasure and one my mother gave me when I was back home in November. Mom said there was a visiting photographer and he had one of those cameras where he ducked under a black cloth. My brother loved it. My sister and I were rather more cautious.

I worked on the original for days on photoshop. I still have more to do when my eyes can stand those pixel by pixel changes. However, the guy at the developers said my job was pretty darn good. I sent a copy to all of my siblings and my mother of course. When I get time I’ll improve it some more.

This is the original.


This my doctored version.


Some years ago, my mother visited me in my American home. We sat around with the kids and talked and laughed and shared memories. One day Mom apologized to me saying she wished she had been a better mother. I was shocked. To me she had always been the best. I came from a large family of three brothers and three sisters. Times were hard. My mother had moved from her family home, even her state, and had no family resources to draw from in times of financial or emotional need. She married at twenty and by age thirty-two, had given birth to seven children. She raised us on her own, in small towns in Australia, moving us to wherever my father’s work took us next. My father was away for weeks at a time. I remember us all crowded into my mother’s large bed during snowy weather and scary thunderstorms. She’d tell us stories of her hometown, grand adventures of her childhood, siblings, and parents, who we had yet to meet. I was twelve years old when we moved to the area my parents had grown up in, and while my mother’s stories were much more exciting than the real life location, it was also wonderful to see the places and people from her stories.

Whatever it was in my mother’s thoughts that spurred that apology I’ll never know. I told her at the time that she was the best and that my memories were of her love and consideration. I also told her that all we can ever hope for as a parent is that we do the best job we can possibly do in raising our children. I’m not about to raise the subject with her again as she is much older now, but if she ever broaches it, I’ll just smile and say, “You are imperfect, in your own perfect way, and so am I.”

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24 Responses to Are You Imperfect in Your Own Perfect Way?

  1. londonmabel says:

    A radio show I like was once interviewing people on imperfection, and a Fabulous young man said: “I am perfect in all my imperfections!” And I loved that too.

  2. robena grant says:

    Oh, that’s a good one, London. I like that.

  3. Liz Flaherty says:

    What a lovely post. I like the picture, too. I know I’ve apologized to my kids for the same thing as your mother did. You don’t usually think of a blank look as being a good thing, but it was the perfect response to my imperfect apology.

  4. robena grant says:

    Yes, Liz. We have to remember that no matter how difficult the child raising years are, and they are often overwhelming, that if we do our very best, then our very best will always be good enough.

  5. Skye says:

    Being imperfect is when we are our most real and authentic. I think this means a lot. People who seem perfect also seem untouchable in some way, like someone who wouldn’t want to be friends with imperfect us. I think we are more approachable and more lovable when we allow our imperfections to show and when we are our flawed selves. This is something I’m working on myself right now.

  6. What a great post and fun picture, Robena. Glad you found a way to stave off the jitters while public speaking. Maybe I’ll try that the next time….because I am most perfectly imperfect, too! Just have to learn to embrace that. Love it!

  7. robena grant says:

    Thanks, Skye. I know you’ve taken on an amazing self-discovery journey this year, and I applaud you for that. I love what you have to say on perfection.

  8. Sam Beck says:

    What a perfect post! As an outsider looking in, I don’t see all these imperfections you speak of. You have your act together Miz Grant, and the fact that you don’t know it only adds to your charm. Plus, you’ve got some amazing photoshop skills!

  9. robena grant says:

    Ha ha, Sam. You are funny. But you know I was kind of proud of my photographic skills. I really should take a class in photoshop though. There has to be a way to lighten just one portion of the photo. I’d love to lighten my sister’s face, because she has such a funny look of confusion and disbelief in the scratched up original.

  10. Very impressive photo work, Miss Robena.

    As for imperfections – each person is unique, and their imperfections are a part of their make-up. We’d all be pretty boring if we were all the same.

  11. Maria Powers says:

    This is so perfect especially for the holiday season. While my mom has never “apologized” to me about her parenting, and she shouldn’t, I did apologize to her. My youngest cousin graduated high school the June after Dad passed away and I went out to represent the family. Dad had gone to all of the other graduations. I watched the “adult” and his behavior at 18 and one afternoon after he’d been particularly rude to his parents, I called my mom in front of him and everyone and apologized to her for my behavior at the same age. I told her that I’d been watching him and I saw what a brat I’d been right after high school graduation and I owed her an apology for being so thoughtless. She laughed, told me that she loved me and we hung up the phone. My cousin asked me if I thought he was supposed to learn anything from that. I told him no, but I figured in about 25 years that he’d be calling his mother and apologizing for his current behavior too.

    We are perfect in our own imperfect ways. Great post.

  12. Hi Robena – I can only imagine how hard it must have been to raise all those kids. I come from a family half that size, but my mother was one of 14 siblings! I think the older ones sort of raise the younger ones in families of that size, because, I cannot imagine one mother handling it all.

    What lovely memories you’ve shared, and I’m so glad you had the chance to tell your mother how great you thought she was.

    AS for being perfect in our imperfections – wow, I am marinated and grilled in mine!

    • robena grant says:

      Marinated and grilled…ha ha ha ha ha ha. I love that.
      You’re right of course. My older sister was a surrogate mom to all of us except my older brother. She’s still the same at age 65. : )

  13. Gina Bono says:

    Wow, Robena, you did a fantastic job on the photo – it looks amazing, and you’re adorable!

    “You are imperfect, in your own perfect way, and so am I.” I love this and know your mom would, too! I’m not sure if there’s any such thing as perfection, but I think beauty lies in the imperfection. Imperfection is definitely more interesting 😀 Thanks for this post!

  14. robena grant says:

    Aww, thanks, Gina. I agree, imperfection is what makes us real. I love quirky friends…not that I’m saying you’re quirky or anything. ; )

  15. Gaela says:

    Found it – thanks Robena

  16. robena grant says:

    Glad you did, Gaela, and welcome to my site. : )

  17. Wow, I bet you have some amazing memories. Large families breed a special closeness steeped in all those perfect imperfections. What wonderful short stories I bet you could pen about those childhood days.

    Thanks for another wonderful blog and happy holidays.

    • robena grant says:

      Thanks, Christine. The more I blog the more I think about writing a collection of shorts. A writer friend of mine did and they are awesome memories of his childhood.
      Happy holidays to you too!

  18. At 55 I am finally comfortable with my imperfections. Except one. And that one drives me crazy. Isn’t that the way?

  19. robena grant says:

    Oh, so your just going to keep it to yourself then, Judy? Ha ha. Thanks for coming by.