We are living in a visual world. A world that is designed, coloured, tinted and perfected by filters. Every life is suddenly like a catalogue out of a Home Decor magazine. The perfect shelf. The perfect workstation. The perfect studio. The perfect bookshelf with the perfect list of must-reads. The perfect plate of food (I am guilty of that too), the perfect child, the perfect housewife, the perfect working mother, the perfect tourist, the perfect shot of everything that is perfect in our perfect little worlds…. Really Now?!!!!
Do we really all have Harvey Specters in our lives with perfectly coiffed hair and suits that coordinate with the Manhattan skyline? Or are we anywhere close to a prim and proper Mrs. Maisel in her petite waistline or a banquet hall full of beautiful dresses with moon blushed skin and matching purses and heels with every piece of garment on us? I know of chefs whose plates of food look more ghar ka khaney wala plate than the ones I put up on Instagram. I know of single mothers who are rushing in between video calls, managing a hyper active child, waiting for the pressure cooker to go off with the whistle so they can serve lunch and also talk business to their Clients who are waiting to get the perfect contribution so that they can justify their roles in the lockdown… I know of men who are worrying sick about how to budget a holiday, a trip to the parents, a gift for the child or a pantry stocked with groceries. I know of grandparents sitting forlorn, alone, in other countries, holed up and waiting for the world to open up so that they can be reunited with their families. I know of friends struggling with losses of jobs, of parents, and many more things. And yet, we strive to dish out that kaleidoscope of air brushed, voyueristic images of a life that we don’t actually live but imagine. Kardashians …we all have become.
It is not just the pictures… but the deadlines that we push ourselves to, the standards that we raise our bar for… unrealistic, untrue, unachievable and uncalled for… that saps the joys right out of our very existence. It’s the misplaced perfection that is driving this generation nuts.
Perfection is ruining us. We hide behind the character of Monica Geller. We are losing our heart to admire, of seeing the worth in everyone’s lives, efforts and achievements. It leaves us with a nagging sense of dissatisfaction, an edgy thought process bordering on annoyance and intolerance. The perfect girl, the perfect boy, the perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect garden, the perfect pasta, the perfect coffee… ‘The Perfection Pandemic’ seeped into our lives much before the The Great Lockdown became the truth of our lives. We don’t have the threshold of listening anymore, of absorbing or participating in conversations anymore… we are all ashamed of ourselves… at some level… because we are measuring meritocracy basis the standards that have been laid out by the visual and ubiquitous social platforms that we today thrive and live on. I am not preaching. I am writing as I am realising this myself. I will find it equally hard to show myself in my true colours and be myself.
But I am not going to let this airbrushed culture create a pseudo avatar of me.
I have a messy kitchen every time I cook. I serve more imperfect food before I serve that perfect looking burger. I live in pyjamas in ghastly looking socks and do not have the funky socks from Wake up Sid. I do not craft everyday with my child and neither does my daughter know how to sew a dress yet. I do not have the perfect skin and I am okay to admit here that I am more a blubbering mess of words and emotions than an articulated orator on a five-minute hat speech platform. I am chaotic. I get bored easily. I cannot clean. I have chairs full of clothes that I do not wear but have fresh laundry always. I am not what you see. I am not what I post. I am about alright. And quite happy with it, honestly.
We need to accept. Perfection makes us cower away and hunker down because we feel we are not meeting up to the standards of socially prescribed perfection. It’s a battle lost even before it is started. And what surrounds us then is nothing but helplessness, a sense of failure, a feeling of being a derelict and worthlessness.
No one said you cannot be ambitious. Or that you cannot break that glass ceiling. Or you cannot strive to be the best performer in sports or music or studies etc. But any of this, when bolstered with self compassion, acceptance, tolerance, kindness and forgiveness, of being fundamentally flawed and being human… is when our lives will be well lived and well treasured and well valued. When we will all make sense of being who we are.
We cannot let ourselves be ensnared in this chaotic grid of filters and tonality and effects that make our lives look like a Vogue cover page. We are remarkable souls. Limitless. Deep. Curious. Kind. Analytical. Intelligent. Affectionate. Artistic. Aware and so much more. We need to put our foot forward…not always the best foot forward. Just be ourselves. Excuse ourselves. Be a mess if you are. Be emotional and sentimental if you are. Be a raging heart if you are. Just Be. And amidst all that, remember… Life is not Suits. or Mrs. Maisel’s stage. Friendships are not as easy as shown on FRIENDS. Talks with kids do not go as easy as on Full House. There are hard truths to be hold. Real stories to be heard. Honest ideas and thoughts to be acknowledged. Languages to be learnt. Proses to be read. And all of this needs to be done without any metrics of perfectionism.
The Lockdown today is becoming the centre of our lives and is slowly playing out in our well decorated islands of perfectly styled kitchen or on the well plugged home office. The lockdown is making us wear more masks than we ever did. Not just the fabric or N95 Masks. But masks to show that we live lives more grander than we actually do.
Let’s not do that act of unkindness to our own selves. Let’s chill. Let us dare to share who we are. No… Not reality TV. We have had enough of that. But just a thought before we add that filter to put ourselves out there. It is okay to be realistic. It is okay to be not okay. Let us stop this. This craze of being perfected, of wanting perfection and achieving perfection.
Let us not judge ourselves. Let us just be Human.