The pursuit of perfection - or not
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 9:00 PM
As I prepared to write this article, I went to my designated writing spot - our enclosed front porch with the comfy furniture. I want to sit there in the bright light of day and write while I sip hot tea. It sounds idyllic, but the reality is a slight modification from your mental image of this scenario.
Ginger is an author, speaker, and mother of five. Find her on Facebook (Ginger Truitt-Author), Twitter (@GingerTruitt) or contact email@example.com.
Years ago, when I was desperately trying to be the perfect wife, I read any book I could get my hands on about how to accomplish such. One suggestion repeated throughout every piece of "good wife" literature was that you should designate a spot in your home that is all your own. Early each morning, after dressing for the day, you should go to this sacred place. There, you would keep a basket containing a beautiful mug, an assortment of teas, and a Bible with accompanying study guide.
I wanted that place to be my front porch, but it wasn't weather proof, and even if it had been, we didn't have the finances to furnish it. But still, I longed for a beautiful location, and a basket of tea, that I was sure would be the key not only to my success as a wife, but would give me the solace I need on my journey as a writer.
But you see, real life isn't like a book. Most of the time, I forget to read my Bible unless something bad is happening in my life. I have every intention of reading more often, but I find myself wondering, if the road to hell is paved with good intentions, where does that leave me?
Last summer, after 16 years, we finally weatherized the porch, and bought the comfy furniture for which I had longed. I set about making a basket of teas and Bible study guides, but the truth is, my basket contains a six pack of coke, a bottle of rum and the latest novel. On some days, I walk to the porch, look at my bright, comfy writing spot and carry my basket to the den where I draw the drapes to block out that annoying sunlight.
If I'm extremely tight on my deadline, or missed it completely like today (or yesterday actually), I write with a kid hanging on either arm, the TV blaring and the rum slightly out-measuring the Coke. If I still have a few hours before the bus arrives, it's just me, sitting in the dark, staring at a blank page. The mailman may or may not arrive during that time and express surprise that I have managed to greet him at the door in regular clothes instead of pajamas.
If you are one of the readers who stops me in the grocery store to say you read my articles hesitantly, because you think I have a perfect life, and it makes you feel bad, rest assured, 600 words does not provide an accurate picture of my week. Just the other night I said to hubby, "I love you so much! I am sorry I said I hate you."
Surprised, he asked, "When did you say you hate me?"
"When we had that fight the other morning, after you hung up, I yelled at the phone, 'I hate you! I hate you!' But I don't hate you. I love you so much! I don't really want you to die."
"You wanted me to die?"
"Huh? What? Of course not! It's just an expression."
Thankfully, even though I've given up on being the perfect wife, hubby loves me - flaws and all. I don't think he ever wanted the perfect wife any more than I want the perfect writing space. It sounds good in theory, but real life doesn't allow for perfection. And so, we muddle through doing the best we can, making mistakes, drinking too much rum, forgetting to read our Bible and on some days, we manage to get dressed before the mailman comes.