Photo by Ollie Reimann
I just need to get something off my chest: Kdsuehcdjsueq,jsgcowue fojwebvjkqsbuicadchouohas iuggvuecq;;;.
Gah. That wasn’t even as satisfying as I’d hoped. I’ve been waiting to do it for like three hours now. Three hours since I’ve wanted to start this article, to sit down and violently bash out my frustrations with each ‘plic! Plic! Plic!’ of the keyboard.
But of course, today is the day my laptop decided to, you know, not turn on. Apparently when the world zigs my temperamental little MacBook chooses to zag, and for her, the ‘on’ button is not an order but merely a suggestion, which today she has looked at, decided ‘meh’ and went back to sleep.
Ommm, I remind myself, ommm.
I do not have my shit together today. Firstly, I could’t find my keys for a good half hour. Then I went for a surf and got so mercilessly bashed by a set paddling out that I eventually went ‘meh, screw it’ and caught some whitewash back into shore without ever once making it to the line-up. I know the ocean tests your human spirit and no pain no gain and all that. But today I have all the ambition and drive of a half-squished slug. Killin-it-ville, town for people who have their shit together, population: not me today.
Why are we so desperate to have our shit together?
I have always had a hard-on for women who have it together. When I was interning at a women magazine in Sydney there was this one girl, exactly my age, who was a full-time employee who took me under her wing. I’d sit next to her each day and bask in her together-ness; laptop open with website analytics open, her crisp, freshly cut hair, her cool-but-quirky outfit ensembles, the confident way in which she held herself.
And her perfume, oh man, her perfume. I’ve always heard that a woman should have her ‘signature perfume.’ Which is a wicked idea, but also super intimidating. Like to find one particular smell in one particular bottle that’s meant to perfectly encapsulate all that is me?! That’s so much pressure, so much pressure in fact, I have never done it. I think the last perfume I owned was five dollar knockoff from my boyfriend when I was sixteen, after he returned from a family trip to Bali. Which I promptly left in the sun to go sour. So my only real signature perfume is sweat, black coffee, and a perpetual sense of impending doom.
This isn’t to polarise one type of woman with another. I’m not about that life and you shouldn’t be either. All I am saying is as a society, we do kind of love this image for the woman who “has it together”; sick job, perfect relationship, career driven, strict yoga routine, maintains her appearance properly. And by properly I mean, actually goes to the hairdresser, not just goes into the backyard, hands her sister the kitchen scissors and says “just try to make it as even as you can” (guilty.) On the days we’re not sailing in life, we feel like we’re somehow broken or wrong.
Perfection: it does not exist.
What I am starting to realise is this: you’re probably never going to have your shit completely together. Some parts, yeah, but not all parts, all at once, all the time. So can we all stop pretending to each other that we do? Stop holding that up as the ideal? Stop striving for something that DOESN’T EVEN EXIST? My lady crush at the women’s magazine may have been nailing life at work but she openly admitted she was addicted to sugar, and ate candy for breakfast, and had frequent eye strain and neck aches from being on the computer, like, every waking minute. Does that make her any less worthy of love or any less of a powerhouse woman? Hell, no. It makes her a human, doing the best she knows how at that time.
Some weeks my partner and I cook delicious, healthy meals for each other every night of the week. But there are those weeks we order food from the same place, every night, so frequently that the one night we don’t call, they call us, like ‘uh, so are you guys making your usual order tonight, or?’…
“You can be ambitious and driven and make an impact in the world without being perfect.”
Some weekends I get in the mood to do ALL my washing, folded perfectly and put away by sundown. Other times I don’t wash my bras until they’re, like, brown. Sometimes I am so INSPIRED at work that I write article after article into the cool corners of the morning. Other mornings I wake up and just want to lay on the floor, next to my dog, force him to hug me back while he struggles to break free.
My new goal is not to aim to have my shit 100% together. Now I am thinking along the lines of… 67 per cent. 67 is a good, solid number. If your child brought that home you wouldn’t hold them up as a child prodigy, but nor would you worry about them failing the grade. Some days your shit may be 23 per cent together, other days, productive days, confidence-on-point days, you may be at a solid 92. But if the average is around 67, I’m happy with that. That’s enough to not only get by, but do some good things in this world.
I have now accepted I’m never going to have my shit together, totally. I’m cool with that.
Please always remember, you can can be ambitious and driven and make an impact in the world without being perfect.
Feature image: C-Heads Magazine