I’ve long known that I suffer from the perfectionism disease. I come by it honestly having been born of two parents who were perfectionists and my life is strewn with things that I didn’t do because I perceived I couldn’t do them perfectly. But one day I recognized the disease and decided to battle it. This weekend it reared it’s ugly head. I had a beautiful flamework glass bead with subtle colors of peach and pink and gold and maroon and I wanted to wire wrap it in 18 gauge silver craft wire. When it was nearly finished I was happy with the flow of the wrap design. But, there was a spot – mmmmm – just tighten that one little spot and it will be better, I thought. Wrong! In trying to tighten the wrap I marred the wire. I tried to fix it this way. I tried to fix it that way. All the time the flaw grew worse. I thought it had been one of the best designs I wrapped that day and intended it for sale but now it was flawedin such a way that it could not be sold. My first thought was to take out the wire cutters and start over. It had been a long afternoon, though and this was the last piece I was wrapping and I just didn’t want to start over at that point. So, channeling Scarlet O’Hara in Gone With the Wind I determined “I’ll think about that tomorrow.
In fact, though, I couldn’t keep the thought of the “ruined” pendant out of my head and my thoughts took me to a consideration of the curse of perfectionism. What did others have to say?
Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing. ~Harriet Braiker
A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault. ~John Henry Newman
and – Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without. ~Confucius
Nothing particularly new in these thoughts.
But I also found something I had never heard before – never considered. It seems that Navajo blankets are deliberately woven with a flaw. Because human beings are flawed seeking perfection in the weave offends the spirits and, since the weaver invests part of him/herself in the creation of the design and weave, a flaw must be included without which the weaver’s spirit would have no means of escape.
I’m keeping keeping this lovely pendant and the flaw in its wire wrapping and I’ve given it the name “I Am Flawed”. As a matter of fact I put it on a maroon ribbon and wore it to work today. Every time I see it – every time I wear it I want to be reminded that there is a part of me – my creativity – my time – my energy that is a part of every piece of jewelry I make. To seek to make perfection would entrap my spirit in an endless pursuit of something I cannot attain. I am human. I am flawed. This pendant shall remind me that while I choose to pursue excellence I also embrace my humanness and all the flaws that come with it and I embrace the expression my art brings to who I am.