Wednesday, March 25, 2009

We're all UNIQUE seashells....

"That's not perfect enough..." I say, as if it were FACT. little Sister's angelic response, "Why not?"

"I don't know it's all... (searching for the right imperfect word) ....broken and holey. Not Godlike, but grave-like." To ensure she knew I didn't mean the seashell resembled a relic of Jesus in anyway.

The thought that something broken and holey wasn't pure perfection didn't occur to her as "imperfect" and she tossed it in her sack of seashells; perfect enough for keeping, to her.
Every inch we stepped she kept finding seemingly "perfect shells" the shells I was hunched with a rabid tenacity searching for, I was in full Huntress mode, "I will find THE MOST PERFECT SHELL on shore before the sun goes down, or I will not go inside. I am a woman on a MISSION. You cannot hide from me!"

Meanwhile, here she is skipping along the beach, pigtailed and optimistic finding perfect, uncracked, unadulterated perfection; curly shells, twisted shells, smooth and hard-no dents, cracks, strange escape routes from it's former inhabitants. Just perfect. What's she looking for that I'm not???

"Ok, let's just stand. We'll focus on one concentrated spot and there we'll find some PERFECT SHELLS. " This is me being SMART. Wise. A lady with a plan.
So there we stood, in full Hunchback of Notre Damn style, asses out, arched with the ambition to fulfill my duty as Superior Shell Finding Master. As my back ached from yesterdays running (another ridiculous inner competition I put myself up against) I thought to myself, I can't find a single shell that's "more beautiful" each one my eye skims across is absolutely splendid....they're all perfect, they're just different. What's any more perfect that the next? The similarity between how I regard beauty in day-to-day life, people, things, etc. and the searching for "the perfect shell" had an eerie kinship. For all the times I regarded someone as "eh" or judged with a vain outlook. What was wrong with me? Why couldn't I recognize that if I JUST LOOKED CLOSELY, I'd come to see that each shell, small, sunset colored, off-white, broken, cracked, halved, were all PERFECT. Each person, each voice, each lifestyle.... Perfectly what they were meant to be, perfectly unique. Some not as flashy as the others, but yet absolute in their discreet beauty.

I've had this COMPLEX about being unique, since I was about fifteen. I was told once, by a famous Reality TV Show judge in a singing competition (guess which MOFO I'm talking about) that I was "GREAT" but, "What's unique about you....." When you're fifteen you don't know that the fact that you EXIST is unique and that answer isn't the first one to come in your head, the answer that is least unique usually is, out of panic, sheer terror that someone would have the audacity to even question your brilliance, you sputter ordinary answers, hence fueling the vapor of righteousness to steam a bit more from the person that asked in the first place when you give your answer.

....years later after living a life of intentionally striving for "UNIQUENESS" often doing things simply because they seemed "different" than what everyone else was doing; here I am on the beach, judging perfectly unique and individual seashells as "imperfect."
It was only once I decided to have "concentrated focus" that I saw, clearly, that every. single. shell. was in fact, perfect. Perfectly imperfect in their differences from the others. I wanted to take them all home with me.

Only when I decided to let go of all of my preconceived notions about perfection could I truly see that perfection is an ideal only unique to beholder.
Each path that we take in the way we live is designer perfectly for each of us, some of us seem to take "safer" routes, but in the end we all pay some price. We all suffer certain losses, of confidence, faith, dreams, or people and we all have UNIQUE had to at one point sacrifice one thing to have another. Though we may walk similar paths to our neighbors and friends, we're each taking in everything UNIQUELY. Therefor our choices, our INTENTIONS, have to be just that; UNIQUELY PERFECT TO US. AS INDIVIDUALS, not as a whole. Never made out of obligation or duty, but out of our unique desire and yearning; to fulfill our individual journey's to their potential.

...I'll come home with a bag full of PERFECT shells. Some grey or tiger striped, others only a piece of what was, but all chosen from my perception of beauty.


nicole antoinette said...

This is where I add in the cliche line about beauty being in the eye of the beholder.

And tell you that you're fabulously unique, no matter what reality tv has to say about it.

Anonymous said...

this post sums up exactly why i love you and your blog.

Sebastian Anthony said...

I have to say, your shell/inner beauty analogy is fantastic!

I thought you were going to touch upon how kids, untainted by the rigors of life, find everything beautiful -- but instead you took another route, another route which came to a good conclusion too!

Brunhilda said...

I sometimes do things just because I think they're "different," but somewhere along the line I realized we're all different enough without even trying. It's kind of liberating to think that way!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful!

Ashley Lynn said...

I was haveing one of those days where you constantly doubt yourself and started going through my reader in class ( I know bad Ashley) and this definetly made me feel better THANK YOU!

Anonymous said...

The kind of beauty you glean out of simple everyday occurrences is fantastic to me.

I can only remember two times in my life where my father cried in front of me. Those "moments of weakness" in his eyes will stand out eternally in my mind as the most perfect I've ever seen him. What a world I think it'd be if everybody wore their imperfections like trophies. (Unless it was a hairy mole on your face)!! I love your perspective Chels, you inspire me!

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

nicoleantoinette- You're amazing, thank you lovely.

cavy- thank you so much :)

sebastian- ah yes, I could have taken that route as well eh?

RYAN- THIS IS MY BOYFRIENNNNNDDDDDD.....See everyone why I just love him so much? :)

Lindsay said...

Lovely post!

Singlegrrrl said...

I've been following for a few weeks and I really enjoy your blog soooo much. This one is my favorite so far. It totally resonates. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I went through something very similar to your journey to find uniqueness. I had to be different, had to be fun and new and strange, because dammit all I was UNIQUE! I still sometimes have moments where I fall back on that desire to do something just because it would make me different, not because I believed in it or really wanted to do it.

It's so much more... real to just realize that we're fun and different because of who we are. Individuals all feel similar emotions, but how we do it, how we experience something... it's all different.

I love it and I love how much your blog makes me think. Thanks!

L.L. said...

I definitely think everyone goes through that phase where they try to be a complete and total individual. We all have that early identity crisis knows as the teen years, where we try to be everything in rapid succession, popular, a jock, a punk, an artist, etc. Part of the growing phase is when you realize you are that seashell. Sure you may get some dents and holes along the way, but you'll always be a shell. Once you figure out what your "shell" is, the rest is detail.

MissBliss said...

This post is lovely and so is your blog! Coming from a writing professor, ;) so you can imagine it takes a lot to captivate my readerly attention and I hope you keep the great posts coming!!!

rachaelgking said...

This is so funny. I completely had that complex too and wrote about the exact same thing last week (

I didn't know it was an actual thing until I was sitting in my Developmental Psych class in college and he started talking about "the spiral" teenage girls often go into... I struggled so much with what made ME special. I could see what was amazing about all of my friends, but never myself.

About a decade later, I'm finally there. :-) LOVE this post.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

singlegrrrl- thank you!!!

alexmac- I'm glad I can make people think, sometimes I just need to clear my head of all the things things that I think about constantly, so other people can give me some relief by thinking about it for me lol.

missbliss- what a compliment, thanks dear!! cheers :)

lilu- i'm excited to read the post, very interesting!

Melain said...

What a profound concept. You've named the thing we all love about you! (Among many things, of course)

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

melain- AH, that comment made me smile, thank you so much. cheers :)