Outside the lines

There came a point in my childhood where coloring became a painful activity. Crayons were bulky and dull and never stayed in the lines. There were always white spots, no matter how many times I went back over the picture, and I could always see where I had colored in different directions. Eventually, I decided writing was much better than coloring, and I put away the crayons, the colored pencils, and the watercolors.

A few years ago, my cousin began posting pictures of her watercolor family portraits. They were amazing.

And she didn’t always stay in the lines.

And they were still beautiful.

And suddenly I realized that perfection as I had always defined it was a myth. Perfection is not robotic neatness, perfectly straight lines and solid, contained colors. Perfection is a deeply individual matter–taking our strengths and weaknesses, our flaws and our finer features, our logic and our emotions–taking every part of ourselves and striving, putting our all into doing/being/creating the very best we can.

Sometimes it looks messy, but sometimes its that very messiness that strikes and inspires another person. As imperfect people, we relate to imperfection, and we see the beauty and the potential in it.

I still struggle to put away the doubt and frustration when my writing is not what I want it to be. Even with this post–it’s been sitting in my drafts folder for a month or better now. But our words, imperfect as they may be, will never touch another soul if we let fear and doubt keep them locked away.


4 thoughts on “Outside the lines

  1. So true about perfection. I often think perfectionism is one of the faces of doubt. And we are human, and inherently imperfect. Remember what you’ve accomplished. That’s one of my strategies to battle doubt. Oh, and when I find an error in a book by a “big” author, like Nora Roberts or Tami Hoag, it reminds me you don’t have to be perfect to be a good writer!

    Liked by 1 person

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