Almost Perfect

The moment you realize that you are somewhat of a perfectionist can be one of the most enthralling moments in one’s life.

Last week was marked by midterm exams and I was successful in not getting stressed out about it. Throughout the week, I kept my sanity but over the weekend is when my patience ran short. I know that grades aren’t due until tomorrow morning but, as a result of my anxious nature, I failed to understand why teachers couldn’t get it done sooner.

This morning, my Writing for the Media professor handed our tests back and I was overcome with nervousness because she usually hands back assignments by grade. My name was near the very end of the pile. Regardless, I turned the test over and saw that my score was a 39/40!!! My happiness faced an abrupt demise when I realized that I could have made a 40/40 if I had only remembered to do the extra credit on the back of the test… Shame on me.

Rushing has always been my downfall when it comes to test taking and it caused me to miss out on a faultless, 100%.

As I’ve pondered this “close to perfection” idea, throughout the day, I remember the story The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Short summary: Aylmer is dedicated to science but leaves his passion for a while to find love. He marries a woman named Georgiana. Soon after their marriage, he brings up the mark on her cheek. She pays him no mind because many have told her that it is a mark of uniqueness, of beauty but Aylmer thinks differently. He calls it a slight defect that is the “visible mark of earthly imperfection”. Wow Aylmer. As the story progresses, he shutters at the sight of this mark and Georgiana’s self esteem slowly diminishes. By the end of the story, she no longer wants the birthmark. She would even prefer death over the shutter her husband experiences when seeing it. To him, this is the one thing holding her back from being perfect. Aylmer experiments ways to rid her of this birthmark. As he experiments, his lab assistant questions his need to remove this mark and says, “if she were my wife, I’d never part with that birth-mark.” Aylmer gives her the potion and although the birthmark fades away so does Georgiana. In all his effort to rid of this slight defect he ends up losing the love of his life.

Perhaps perfection isn’t all that it seems to be cut out to be.

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