Vanity Fails

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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8 Replies to “Vanity Fails”

  1. My personal box of rejections is quite large.
    When I hear the words, “You can’t”, “You won’t”, You aren’t”,
    it does something to me,
    and my “artist warrior self” gets into gear,
    no matter what the challenge,
    and those negative thoughts and comments from unbelieving, jealous, controlling people gives me the strength to say to myself,
    “I can”, “I will”, “I am”…
    leaving me with minimalist thoughts such as,
    escaped another toxic situation.

    Then my box of acceptances becomes more than full,
    and I laugh in spirit at how I could have missed an opportunity to expand my consciousness and grow my love for what I love to do.

    So thank you, negative forces and people in my life,
    you are a jump board for me, to dare to be lousy,
    to dare to overcome,
    and find my Self and draw my new expanse.

    Thank you for the motivation, negative selves out there.
    I forgive you.
    I even invite you to board the gravy train,
    if you are willing to take a long,
    deep hard look into your self,
    and see the damage you do.
    Vanity is not in vain.
    Vanity holds no place in being and becoming our real selves.
    Let us all collect a lot of “yeses” and grow our precious selves free of those who hurt us.

    “Whilst thou wilt, I am sad, but behold, you have another chance to grow. Albeit, you will become one with Nature and see it’s beautiful real self, free of boast, free of greed, left only to grow as God intended.” Diane

  2. Hi Michele,
    Sometimes what I read me of scratches to my personal metaphoric blackboard the wrong way and the uncomfortable fingernail squeaks remind me all too well of naysayers. I was with a very toxic someone recently but rather than do the usual feel sorry for my self from the lip lashing, I turned to my work and painted quietly all weekend with peace in my heart. Growing I am! I used to go under in the murky waters and sleep for days, but now my waterlilies are peeking out, some even in full bloom reaching for the sun. Still a good reminder to not go there again.

    Thank you for “Weed Farmers”.

    Your writing is very universal, touching and healing.

    Kind Regards,

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