I am wearing a simple ring that I made possibly 25 years ago. For decades it lay in the dark, unworn, because it was a failed, imperfect piece. It was hidden, in the same way I hid occasional creations – sketches, paintings, pastels, a poorly knitted sweater – not to mention attempts to hide or disguise my own physical imperfections. I only stopped dying, perming or straightening my hair a few years ago, and now the gray feels so free.
Despite voice training, I could not sing in front of others – even my own children. Only when I was alone did I sing out freely. I was terrified of speaking in front of groups, to the point of avoiding jobs in which I might ever have to do so. I failed grades in high school because I played sick on “public speaking” days and for any event where I would have to be visible (except for hiding in the ‘glee club’). And when I was executive v.p. of my peace group after eight years of activism, I quit to avoid becoming president. You can guess why.
How much therapy did I have, how many ‘how to’ groups did I join, how much hypnosis did I try, all in an effort to change these fears? Countless.
And then recently – through methods I won’t talk about now – I began to be able to speak – and even sing! – regardless of audience. Wound into this experience was the acceptance of my imperfections – my right to be as imperfect as anyone. In fact, some might say I embraced my imperfections (that would be an exaggeration).
At about the same time, I found myself wearing my imperfect ring. It has a mellow softness to it. It has become part of my everyday life. It has become a symbol of acceptance of my imperfection.