Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The perfect life

"I fear if I had more advantage than I do now, I would be unbearable. Yet I am still trying to find out just how unbearable that would be." -Mark Elliot

Q. What is your life like, and is it as perfect and beautiful as it seems?

A. What? You're perfect and beautiful... And yes it is
Hope you have a wonderfully beautiful perfectly day,

This question has been sitting unanswered for a few weeks now. But it's been following me around since the day I read it. I'd find it as I dug through my backpack. I'd see it standing near a call box as I crossed the bridge. It would brush up against my cheek as I lay awake at night. It would roll down my back as I showered... Who do you have me confused with? Through what window are you viewing my life? I don't post any soft focus photos or ever play with depth of field. I never go on family outings to cute or quaint or fancy... anything. We don't even have a dishwasher. How could anyone think my life is perfect?

"I'll show them." I thought. I'm going to sit down and write about just how imperfect my life is. I thought leading off with a parable would be helpful in illustrating my point or at least setting the mood. So I wrote the following:
The Parable of the Stick and the Turtle.
In a certain field, firmly and deeply, was driven a stick. Around the stick, long and tightly, a rope was coiled. At the end of the rope was tethered the hind leg of a turtle. Each day the turtle walks the path around the stick slowly unwinding the coil.
When asked about how things are going, the turtle answers, "Each day I get closer to the end of my rope. With every step the rope lengthens and I cover new ground. But day to day, it really just feels like I'm going in circles... The question I have... The one that hangs most heavily in my mind... When I reach the end of the rope, will it still be tied to the stick? Will it then start to coil back in on its self? With me ending where I began? Or will I simply be free to roam when and where I please?

Though this feels true. It does not feel beautiful. And most certainly not perfect. It just sounds hard, tiring and full of uncertainty. And as much as my life is like that. It also isn't. My life is filled with wonderful people, opportunities and surprises. I think I have just the right amount of hardship and advantage. In so many ways, it is balanced. Granted it's balanced with many things I never would have chosen to be on my scales. But so many of the things I hope to never trade away.
Though my initial reaction to this question was confusion with a dash of despair. It gave me cause to search a little deeper into myself. Down to the thoughts you can't hear or see- only feel. Like a nickle in the deep end of the pool. And there I would try to stay, long enough to find something to bring back to the surface, feeling around in the dark. Looking for the nickle. For the perfect. And every once in a while I catch a glimpse.


  1. love this post. especially the part about "I don't post any soft focus photos or ever play with depth of field. I never go on family outings to cute or quaint or fancy... anything" I shamelessly do all of those things and then post the guts out of them. rob keeps threatening to start the counter blog to NYC taught Me.