“You have to be careful about what you fix….If you irrigate a desert, you might empty a sea. It’s a complicated business, fixing things.”
-Percival Everett, “The Fix”
I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching lately. It’s easy to get comfortable when nothing changes for a while. To get so you’re used to the way things are and the way you’re managing your life.
But when there’s upheaval, you’ll learn a lot about yourself. Sometimes this is wonderful; it can throw light onto places that were previously dark. Make sense out of chaos. It can change everything — in the best possible way.
Other times, this self-knowledge can hit you differently. It can feel inconvenient.
I am definitely not a person who is at my factory settings. A lot has happened over the course of my life that I’ve had to work through. And every time, I have. I’m not a person who generally shies away from self-work, from challenging the status quo — whether it’s society’s big status quo or my own personal comparably tiny status quo.
At this point in my life, I’ve had a lot of therapy, asked myself a lot of difficult questions, and have struggled through accepting a lot of unpleasant truths.
And yet I’m not perfect. I have things that I could — and probably should — work on… that is, if I want to be perfect.
But I’m not sure I want to be. And I’m starting to wonder if the best disposition for those last few bits and pieces is just to accept them.
Because I think there will always be something left. And while once upon a time I despised myself, felt like there was little to nothing redeeming about me, and couldn’t begin to fathom why anyone would tolerate me, let alone love me, these days I have an entirely different relationship with myself.
These days I generally like who I am. And I don’t want to change parts of myself and upset other things I actually do like about myself.
I don’t want to change something and become someone who violates my own values system.
And as I contemplate working on small nitpicky issues, I find myself wondering: What will I lose if I fix certain “problems?”
Would what I lose be worth it?
And for the first time in life, I’m not confident that the answer to that second question would be “yes.”
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