Photo by Debi Squire

It must be hard to be Little Miss Perfect.

I’m guessing about that. I wouldn’t know. I’m an imperfect perfectionist. That’s hard enough.

My parents didn’t put unrealistic expectations on me. Did they expect me to walk on water? Heal the sick? Raise the dead? No. They didn’t expect any of that. They DID expect me to grow into a contributing adult.

But I expected a lot of me. And I was a nag—not to others—but to myself. I started young picking myself apart.

I thought I was ugly—hideous. I believed I was so homely my parents would have to pay some down-on-his-luck chap to take me off of their hands. This was the scenario I imagined:

Bum: “Hey, mister! Can you lend me a dime?”

Dad: “No. But I have $50 bucks if you’ll take my daughter.

Bum: “Which one?

Dad: “The redhead with a million freckles.”

Bum: “Let me think about it for a while and I’ll let you know.

My perception of ugliness had to do with my nose. Mom said I had “the Willson nose,” just like her father’s. Grandpa’s nose looked like a sprouted potato. He grew so much hair out his nostrils it looked like he snorted Rogain.

When I looked in the mirror, I superimposed Grandpa’s hairy proboscis onto my face. It was only a mirage, but that’s actually what I saw. Not pretty. Far from perfect.

All the self-criticisms made me unhappy. And quick-witted. If you asked me how I was doing, ten out of ten times, we’d end up talking about you. I didn’t want to talk about me. I didn’t want you to look at imperfect me.

I had scripture to back me up on my quest for perfection. Matthew 5:48 records Jesus saying: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

My whole was focus was ME.

But Jesus also said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)

What a relief! My imperfections don’t bother Jesus. He loves me anyway. Little Miss Perfect can die.