shame and imperfectionMy art show opened last week. A friend pulled me aside and in a hushed, shamed tone rasped, “Did you mean to have that drip there?” Well, yeah. I’m an artist, I’m not blind. What’s the problem with a little drip?


It’s not just with art…it’s with everything. I howled with laughter as a Facebook friend asked if anyone had ever had an eyelash curler chop lashes off. Well, yeah. I was 17 and there were no artificial lash replacements. I survived teenage boys inquiring, “What happened to your lashes?” for WEEKS!  It built character! 

My friend’s eyelash incident kicked off the conversation. The curling irons that burn off chunks of hair, the appliances that burn us, scar us…emotionally and physically.


We try so hard to make it perfect, to BE perfect, we end up ruining it completely. It pulls us out of the moment, out of our authenticity, creates a halo of shame, and it really, downright useless. The pursuit of perfection can stop us in our tracks. (click to Tweet)

Vanity fails occur in our artwork, too. Working so hard to make it “perfect,“ we hose it completely. The only remedy: a completeshame bowl coat of gesso and a do-over.

They occur on the golf course, trying to hit the ball so hard, drive it so long, you shank it completely. You, behind the tree, hang your head in shame!

They happen socially, you can’t recall a name and rather than admit it and ask again, you withdraw from the conversation and become a wallflower. You’d rather run the risk of appearing disinterested than to admit you forgot a name. Everyone forgets names! I usually take a pre-emptive swing and disclose my forgetfulness at the first meeting.

What is our preoccupation with perfection?


beauty in imperfectionIt’s our bad memories, our missing eyelashes, our typos, our paint drips that make us interesting. We’ve seen perfect, it’s constrained, it’s manufactured, it’s boring. Personally, I always look for the character…in people and in things. Character is born of overcoming difficulties. We should wear it like a badge of honor. (click to Tweet) Show your scars…they made you who you are.

I used to tell my students and clients, “If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not learning anything new.” As we stretch and learn new things, imperfection comes with the territory. How confining to hold perfection as a standard. Do your very best, and let the rest be. Lay aside the paralyzing pursuit of perfection and proudly strut your character. It’s beautiful!

Drop the shame and strut your stuff!




Michelle Andres is a coach, writer and artist who champions others to follow the path less traveled; the path that leads straight to their joyful hearts.♥Writer, Artist, Coach

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