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What does perfect mean? Annabelle (Year 12) gave her definition at Assembly this week.
“Perfectly Imperfect. Righto, what does this mean? What does perfect mean?
I suppose it means you’re sporty, kind, funny, smart, confident, generous, forgiving, strong, creative, fit… well what do you know? I’ve run out of fingers. If you know a person that fits this criteria, introduce me to him. Him? I say ‘him’, because in many countries - and for some people, this includes Australia too - it’s unlucky or ‘imperfect’ to be born a woman. But, for the lucky 800 women sitting in this gym today - and by the way, we are also sitting in the top one percent of the most fortunate people in the world - we’re wired to believe that being a female isn’t a disadvantage! Instead it’s an opportunity to work hard, make a difference and inspire others.
The reason we don’t see being female as a disadvantage is because of our context. We go to Wenona, which works to empower women. And not is it just the School’s vision - we believe it too. So I reckon perfections and imperfections are formed in response to our context. For the women in Ethiopia, ‘perfect’ is who can wear the biggest lip plate. For sumo wrestlers it’s who can weigh the most and fight the best. For the Kung Bushmen in Africa, it’s being able to walk over hot coals.
Now I don’t want to make a generalisation, but I’m going to make a generalisation. Pretty sure the majority in this room aren’t aiming to do any of these things in order to pursue perfection. Everyone’s ‘perfect’ is different; it all comes down to what lens you’re looking through. What a boring lot of people we would be if we could all do everything and do it well. If that was the case, we wouldn’t be amazed by Emily’s skiing achievement of placing 15th in the Under 18s at the World Junior Championships. But we are amazed, and rightly so, because not everyone (very few) can do what Emily can.
My point is, we all have different skills and assets, so don’t measure your achievements off the girl sitting beside you, because sure, she’s a gun on the touch field, but she can’t sing like you can. When I was 9, I had a motorbike accident and I ripped my calf open. And I have the scar to prove it! I was told when I’m 18 I could get the skin graft part removed, but I don’t have aspirations to be a super model. Most of the time I don’t even notice it. Sometimes I’m even thankful for it when I’m sitting with someone I’ve just met, struggling to identify mutual interests, conversation isn’t really progressing, and then they ask, “What happened to your leg?” “Ha, take a seat! You are sitting, I’ll stand. So basically, I’m riding along…” See! It’s a conversation starter not an imperfection. I don’t see the scar on my leg as an imperfection, but I don’t know many models who would want it.
We need to accept and embrace ourselves. Instead of aiming for someone else’s perfection, look as yourself. Identify what you’ve got and work on making this skill or asset the best thing you’ve got. I’m not sure what I want to do but I know I want to work with people, so I’m not going to enrol in a coding class, I’m going to take up opportunities that will better my people skills.
So find that thing that makes you tick and run with it. Or swim with it, paint with it, whatever it is, embrace it!
Annabelle (Year 12)