This beach in Playa Del Carmen is perfect in a different way from you and I.
For the longest time, I believed that a relationship (any relationship) is about behaving perfectly. If you are not perfect, the person will get angry with you and leave you. If I wasn’t perfect in every way possible, I would be left alone, without family, friends, or any acquaintance. I tried to do everything as close to perfect as possible, berating myself when it didn’t happen. Any minor imperfection was frowned upon by myself – I hated myself whenever I made a mistake, because I was sabotaging my chance of finding love and friendship. I berated myself more than any other person could have. Who needs enemies when the ugly voice in my head did such a great job of being my worst enemy?
During my childhood, for my parents, I was the golden child. They couldn’t imagine what they had done to deserve such a well-behaved child – I was quiet, well-tempered, studied hard, and took care of myself as much as possible so as not to be a burden. But of course, I was still a child, I was imperfect and I made mistakes. In those cases, even though my parents cared, and were disappointed, they were nothing compared to the disappointment I felt with myself. The burden of making myself feel terrible was entirely upon myself. I didn’t need anyone else to do that. After days and days of being perfect, I would need respite, and I would blow up. I would have an especially heinous blow-out with temper tantrums, slammed doors, crying, throwing things, and after all of that release, ten minutes later, I would be perfectly fine. It was such a pattern with me, that my mother started ignoring these episodes, telling everyone that in ten minutes I would be back to my normal self.
Later on in life, in my relationship with men (until Thenix), I was perfection itself. I was always ready to please, letting the men walk all over me, because that meant, that they would be happy and they wouldn’t leave. I tried to look as perfect as possible – grooming myself as much as possible, wearing pretty clothes that showed off my legs, and letting the guys go to the movies they liked, or the places they wanted to visit. That was a bad way to entice someone to stay with you – because men being men, they tried to push me as much as possible. They tried to see the boundaries, my limits of when I would say enough is enough. Even though I realized that the boundaries had long being reached, I still let them go on with whatever they wanted to do. I didn’t want them to leave, and in the process, I lost myself.
In my relationship with my girlfriends, I was far too accommodating. I was always the designated driver, always the girl who was sober taking care of her drunk girlfriends, always the one who was trying to ensure her friends didn’t go home with assholes. The process repeated itself over and over again with all my girlfriends, where they poured their hearts out to me, and cried on my shoulders, whereas I didn’t do or say anything that was too personal. I didn’t reveal myself, my inadequacies, and inner imperfections to anyone. I did all I could to hide that facet of myself.
In my relationship with myself, I was a tyrant. No matter what time I went to bed, I would be up at 6am for my morning jog, berating myself if I missed even a day of it, thinking I would get fat, and no one would love me. I was ruthless with myself, inside my head, yelling at myself for even a minor infraction of the hundreds of rules that I had set for myself. My perfections started coming out in OCD type behaviour, where I had to wash my hands all the time to be clean, where I couldn’t dance or eat or speak in public as I was too afraid of being imperfect and having people laugh at me.
Eventually, and this took years and years to come about, I realized the truth. The reasons people leave you or stay with you have nothing to do with being perfect or imperfect. I decided I was happy being imperfect. It took a lot of journaling, yoga, and inner contemplation to come to a point, where I love myself no matter how imperfect I am in body, soul, mind, or actions. I am who I am, and I’m learning to love myself for who I am. This causes others to love me for who I am as well.
- This post has been published in Caye Caulker, Belize.
If you haven’t heard of the Big Trip yet, you are in for a treat. Boom & Thenix are driving a 1998 Honda Civic down to the southern most tip of South America, through the West Coast of the US, Mexico, Central and South America. We left on July 17th for this amazing adventure with the help of our sponsor Wise24. For a map of our trip so far, please click here. If you have questions about costs, visas, or anything else trip-related, please see our post on The Big Trip or check out our Archives.