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Imperfection Connection – Coming to a Neighborhood Near You

Years ago I attended a women’s retreat. (Some of you have heard me talk about it – my desire to create NANT was realized within those walls.) After dinner on that cool spring night, some of us lingered on the cozy screened porch. It was late, and we were beginning to settle into one another’s personalities.

One of the women there described, nearly in a whisper, how inadequate she feels in her neighborhood where everyone is so perfect. They live in immaculate homes, and their kids are all geniuses who play on 6 travel teams for sports. Oh, yes, all of them are successful, outgoing, 529s and 401Ks in check…stellar couples at the end of every driveway. She was afraid to walk her dog without looking fashionable.

The rest of us, slightly older, listened and smiled in empathy. We assured her that those perfect homes also have ‘stuff’ hiding behind the pretty wreaths on the doors.

Problems do not care about your gated community, or lack thereof. They favor no section of society.

And living as if unscathed is exhausting, like being in a play that never ends.

The group of us offered her some unsolicited advice:

Find people who are completely over pretending everything is perfect. (They do exist!) Who admit and even laugh at the fact they have tumbleweeds of dog fur under their bed, are in debt up to their eyeballs or “oh my gosh” packed their child a “Lunchable” for his school lunch.

(What will the perfect moms who pack only fresh perky fruit think?!) Yes, this is how ridiculous our thoughts can become.

But in certain small circles, there is an agreement to drop the façade, permission to live imperfectly.

Accepting imperfection does not mean we’re suddenly cynical, lack ambition, or have spite for people who work hard at pretending. It just means we’ve decided to let go of all the ‘shoulds’ we carry around like it’s our job, and all the societal expectations we assign ourselves. We get to do what we love to do. We let go of what tethers us.

For example, if you ever saw me attempt to sew on a button you may wet your pants laughing. It’s that pitiful. Therefore, my friends may hem my daughter’s skirts. (Or if it’s a school uniform skirt, my daughter simply staples it – no kidding – it’s what high school girls do- please refer to Exhibit A.)

When we admit to imperfection, asking for help is permitted, and even encouraged. When we allow for imperfection, we get to see each other’s strengths because we’re not too busy trying to pretend we all have the same ones. (What a relief!)

Once you become comfortable in your imperfect skin, like-souled people seem to surface at any type of event. It’s the Imperfection Connection.

You will laugh harder, cry openly when needed and love more deeply. And mostly, you’ll feel your perfectly stressed shoulders drop back into alignment as you pull on your favorite shorts and your most comfortable worn out T-shirt to walk your dog.

See what you begin to let go of and how light you feel when you walk. Even in your perfect neighborhood.