On Perfection

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What is ‘perfect’? When talking about a person, what does that mean? When talking about an object, or a situation, it usually means having no flaws. But is this what it means for people? Because if so, then ‘perfect’ must be incredibly boring, and I can’t imagine anything less perfect than that.

Flaws are what make people interesting, what give people character, and distinguish us from others. What makes one person perfect for another is not the absence of flaws, but flaws that someone can relate to, can overlook, can find endearing. What defines perfect for one person cannot define it for another. I don’t want to be with someone that doesn’t have flaws, because I certainly have many. Some I’d like to work on, others I think I can live with. I am not seeking to eliminate flaws, to chisel away at myself or others so that I am left with something I don’t recognize anymore, but to find someone who appreciates me as I am, who I appreciate as they are, despite all these things… and maybe sometimes, because of them.

Dare to Disagree

I was not raised to see disagreement as anything to be afraid of.  In my experience, conflict or argument doesn’t have to be a barrier to a positive, close or loving relationship.  In fact, I think learning how to disagree, how to raise concerns and address conflict are some of the most valuable skills we can establish in our lives – for work, for personal relationships, and more.

If you know deep down that someone wants what is best for you, disagreement should never be able to shake that foundation. If there is a pre-established respect and love in a relationship, there is nothing scary about conflicting viewpoints or challenging ideas.

My father and I are both incredibly stubborn. When I was a teenager, we would go head to head in heated “conversations” that would inevitably escalate in true Italian style. Yet underneath it all, knowing that we were family and loved each other meant that there was an inherent inability to take things personally, which usually meant conflicts burned out as quickly as they started. There was something powerful about this – the freedom to disagree or get upset without fearing loss of love – which allowed for emotions to be expressed in an honest, non-threatening way, without building up resentment. It also made room for honest reflection on what was said, once the dust settled.

Over the years this ability to allow others the space to express their opinions (or emotions) and to reflect on the value of what is said rather than taking things personally has been invaluable to me. After all, how are we supposed to learn and grow if we don’t hear opposing points of view? How is it possible to be creative if we only surround ourselves with people who allow us to stay in our comfort zone? How deep can a relationship go if conflicts, desires and opinions are pushed under the rug, or shrouded in silence?

It’s not always easy to hear things that we don’t want to hear. It’s not easy to be called out for decisions that we make in the workplace, or to be challenged by someone close to us.  But it’s important to remember that it’s just as difficult to tell someone you respect that you think they’re making a mistake, to be upset with someone you care about or to question their actions. Yet more often than not, don’t we do this out of love?

A Thank You to Past Relationships

Thank You Hearts

Whether it lasted days, weeks or years, whether it turned into something lasting or faded out quickly, whether it was close to home or spanned the globe, whether we are still in touch or not… I find myself profoundly impacted by every relationship I have ever encountered.

I am convinced that one of the most beautiful things we can experience are those moments of connection with others. I imagine we are these balls of magnetic energy, moving around this world, attracting others, picking up filings, moving apart.  Sometimes the attraction is so strong you are stuck together for a while, sometimes you only touch momentarily. But to know how to retain something from every interaction means that with each encounter we grow and become better, more interesting, more complex.

Whether or not they know it, little things stay with me from each wonderful person with whom I’ve been lucky enough to experience this type of connection, and for this I will be forever grateful.

I will always remember….

the years of your love letters, your grand gestures of teenage romance, the late night conversations, the drives in your car, learning a new language, kissing you in the rain, my first time in Brooklyn, your taste in music, harmonizing with you, your hand rolled cigarettes, discovering the Cosmos, the meals we cooked, the takeout we ordered, traveling to new places together, discussing lucid dreams, the smell of your cologne, your knowledge of art, the best day ever with you, your chicken soup when I was sick, lazy sundays, the miles you drove to see me, the podcasts we listened to, the songs you wrote, the song you wrote for me, your artistic talent, your belief in me, the years of your friendship…

Thank you.