What’s So Perfect About Perfection?

Several years ago, I met a man. A perfect man. A gorgeous, tall, smart, funny, world class kisser of a man. He’s perfect. Except for a big hole in his heart that keeps him from falling in love. And for me, that’s a deal breaker. Perfection isn’t as perfect as it looks.

Last night, a single male friend posted on Facebook, asking how he should respond to (reject) women who aren’t his preferred body type, who approach him on a dating website. The majority of responses from his friends, including me, suggested he just say, “I don’t think we’re a match.” Fair enough; they’ll get the message without him calling them fat. I also suggested that if a woman has other qualities he likes, maybe he should give her a chance and perhaps expand his idea of the perfect woman.

I said that because when I met Mr. Perfect, I wasn’t his preferred body type either. I had told him that before we met, and a level of disappointment registered on his face when he saw me. But because he really is kind of perfect, he gave me a chance. Eight hours later, he said, “I think I’ve changed my mind about what matters most about a woman.” See? Perfect.

As a society, we revere physical beauty above almost everything else. A woman can be mean as a honey badger, but if she’s thin, busty, and pretty, her bad attitude doesn’t matter. A handsome man is more likely to be promoted in business, and will have women swooning over him. So what if he’s stupid or abusive. Look at his handsome face.

A sometime friend took a shot at me, and said, “So you think you’ll be perfect once you lose weight?” Uh, no. That never crossed my mind. I’m not perfect, except for that pesky fat ass, now, so why would I think losing weight will make me perfect? I’ll still be snarky, intolerant of stupidity, and in danger of taking myself more seriously than I should. I’ll just be doing it in a smaller body. People will still call me a bitch. I’ll also still have my good qualities, and the people who genuinely love me now will still love the new, smaller me.

We all have likes and dislikes. There’s no shame in that. But so-called physical perfection is fleeting, and the idea that only the physically perfect are worthy of our attention is foolish. That person who is perfect in every other way may be your perfect match if given a chance. We all have faults; we’re human. We can’t be perfect, but we can be the best person we can be today. That’s good enough for me.

Cognitive Dissonance

cog-ni-tive dis-so-nance

noun:  The state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitude,  esp. as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

This morning, after getting dressed, I happened to glance in the dresser mirror. For a moment, I was confused by what I saw. I looked like a different person. The shape of my body was considerably different from what my brain expected to see. My first thought was, “how did I never notice that the mirror doesn’t reflect accurately?” Almost immediately, I knew that was wrong. The mirror is fine; it reflects exactly what is before it. It’s not some funhouse mirror that alters the image.

My next thought was, “oh crap, my inner fat girl is back.” But I knew that wasn’t true either. The inner fat girl really is gone. Perhaps for the very first time, I was really seeing who I am, and seeing that I’m a new person. Karen 2.0, as a friend calls me.

I know I’ve lost weight; a lot of weight since I started losing in mid-July. I can see it on the scale at the doctor’s office, and the graph she keeps in her computer that shows my weight dropping at an amazingly steep angle. I can see my face is thinner. My cheekbones and jaw line are back. And my clothes are falling off. Literally. The skirts I wore all summer no longer fit at the waist. They drop down to my hips and then fall to the ground. My hips are smaller than my waist was in July. That’s pretty cool. I need to drag out the sewing machine, and take everything in.

Change is a funny thing. I can either resist, or go with it. Since I chose this change, I’m cheerfully going with it. Some of the people I know aren’t as cheerful about my changes. Almost everyone has a comment or criticism. “You’re losing weight too fast.” “I heard that’s a bad diet.” “You’ll never hit your target weight range.” “You can’t write this book and get it published.” They’re suffering from cognitive dissonance too. The Karen they knew is gone and the new Karen doesn’t tolerate personal criticism, yelling, or belittling. I’ll give them time to adjust to the new me, and go with it. I don’t think anyone really believed I was going to follow through with losing weight for the last time in my life, and writing a book about it.

Karen 2.0 is not an idea or theory. It is, I am, reality.