protest perfection

I have often said that I wish I had the confidence at Kristina’s age (any age) that she has.  I usually amend that to say that I wish I had the confidence now, at my age, that Kristina has. She’s kind of a rock star that way.

In middle school, Kristina attended the public school gifted program.  At the time, it was good for her – wickedly challenging, but also quite restrictive and structured – mostly a good thing. For high school, she elected to leave the program to have more options and flexibility.

In 7th grade, they read Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, which continues to be one of Kristina’s favourite books.  Their task was to take a quote from the book and work up a poster representing it’s meaning.

This is what Kristina created.

There was a little glare as I photographed it. From the top it says,

Protest Perfection

I am “the visionary” “the messenger” “the mentor”

“the voice”

and I’m not a killer

Below the photo, it reads,

perfect perfect perfect perfect



without fault

(Actually, it’s missing the w, but we decided not to fret about that.  See?  Progress.)


“All you have to do now is be perfect.” 166

That last bit is a quote from the book.

Her teacher didn’t get it.

But I do.

I suspect you will, too.

While I have written about body image and self-esteem here and here on the blog, I have not explored it as deeply as I would like to.  I have many more draft posts written around the subjects of self-worth, self-image, body image, approval, confidence, and yes, perfection.

Some of those drafts stem from conversations with friends and family.  Some come out of the tormented conversations I have with my mirror and my fears.

I’m still working on those posts – I come back to them, look at the progress I’ve made, become chagrined at the progress I have not made, take stock, have more conversations, and seek out encouragement to get through the next part.

This week that encouragement comes from Brené Brown and her Perfect Protest.

Brené’s new book, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You Are Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, is out now.  I just ordered mine.  I think anyone who knows me will be certain Brené wrote this book for me.  I suspect a lot of people feel that way.

Until the book arrives, I am finding encouragement in the links from the Perfect Protest post (scroll down to the links).

Especially this one, from Joy Tanksley, who is my newest hero.

Her dance video and admissions of (im)perfection brought tears of laughter and joy.  She rocks. Or funks.  All out.  Seriously, go watch the 2-minute video.  I promise, it will make your day.


  • How does this happen?
    The quarter started for me today, and like almost every other quarter, I anxiously wait for the academic police to come interrupt me in the middle of class to take away my PhD. You see, teaching comes easily to me, like breathing and I can completely convince myself that the reason it somes so easily is that obviously I don’t know how bad I am at it. Then I get home and visit this blog and am reminded that A) I am not alone, 2) the reason it is like breathing is because I am at my core an awesome teacher, and III) although not perfect, many students from previous classes are honestly happy to see me and wish they could take another class from me.
    Thank you for making my day a better day especially since it is your B-Day.

  • A2IIIPO, you have to know that I am always so happy to see your comments, and to know that we have connected virtually in between our visits IRL.

    You ARE an awesome teacher. There will be no flashing lights in your rearview. (Unless you hear the soundtrack to Bad Boys, and then it’s a different movie altogether.)

  • Hi Jet,
    Thank you for your lovely comments on my blog — its so nice to hear that someone else is appreciating my photos and perspectives. BTW: I love your sign! Gratitude doesn’t fit with perfection…

  • Sarah Jean – lovely to “see” you again! I agree about gratitude. People ask me how I can be so forgiving/compassionate/positive etc. Mostly, the answer is gratitude. Being grateful is a conscious practice for me, making life very rich indeed.

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