God bless the broken umbrella that led me straight to screaming out loud when it flipped inside out.

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You have officially made it in DC when you’ve battled a gay Republican who hates Pride and disagrees with the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

And you’ve officially made it in life when you’ve managed to flip your umbrella from inside-out to the right side amidst a hurricane-related wind and rain storm.

l’ll connect these two points in just a moment.

A few weeks ago, I left my office building, popped out my umbrella, and hit the streets to run an errand for a work colleague. Just as I got to a busy intersection halfway to my destination, I turned toward the wind to stop the rain from soaking the front of my pants. Before I knew it, my umbrella had flipped inside out.

I screamed.

Well, it was more of a yelp.

Either way, I’m not proud of my behavior. People were staring.

After popping my rainguard back into place, I found myself among a sea of people who had virtually zero issues with their umbrella. They were unphased by the hurricane’s strength, and I finished my walk, both soaked and struggling to maneuver through the sidewalks with my umbrella tightly cupped around my head.

How was no one else struggling, I kept arguing with myself.

You should know, this post was almost titled:

Chasing Perfection: Our Self Against the World

I’ll connect this piece in just a moment.

I have determined in my 30 years of life, that most of my perceived-failure exists as a result of multiple decades worth of chasing perfection. I have learned, when perfection is your benchmark, chances are you’re going to fail.

I repeat:

When perfection is your benchmark, chances are, you’re going to fail.

This is scary for a Type A, eager, constant-doer who established achievement as a core value early on. And it’s an ongoing process for me.

“Michael, you’re fine in this current moment.”

“Michael, you’re learning in the dissonance.”

“Michael, you don’t have to be perfect.”

“[insert your name here], you are exactly where you’re supposed to be.

Our self. Against the world.

Social media may be our biggest barrier. Don’t get me wrong, I will Insta and tweet the life out of my good days and conquered goals. But so will everyone else. Social media serves as a vehicle to inform us of big happenings in the lives of those around us, and among the glitz and wonderful happenings, we are merely a like, share, favorite, or comment away from another’s achievement.

We announce jobs, baby showers, those damn gender-reveal parties, promotions, great meal deals, and other general life wins.

We engage the standard, mirroring a “near-perfect” life.

And this happens a lot.

Similar to looking around at my fellow umbrella-toting passersby, I made a quick and snap judgement that everyone was navigating easily through the rainy streets of the District. I assumed everyone else was fully dry.

In a loosely-related way, my desire to be perfect impacted my assumption that I was failing because I couldn’t move seamlessly with my own umbrella.

*looks at Facebook*

*looks at Instagram*

*sees people skipping joyously-dry through a hurricane*

Am I the only one whose life is in complete shambles right now?

Sure, this may be dramatic, however in the grand comparison to perfection, these days, anything less than a baby announcement or wedding composite can leave someone to feel completely and utterly left behind.

Thankfully, I’m in a good place.

So, What’s the connection to the gay Republican, you might be wondering?

This, too, goes back to perfection.

Through the dissonance between myself and the debatee, one thing was clear: the debatee’s value and understanding of what and how they believed was purely based on the belief that they were under fire; that their umbrella had flipped inside out among a sea of umbrella-perfect strangers. Scramble-mode.

The most consistent tone of our argument was a desire to be perfect.

And to have perfect points. And to have perfect outcomes.

To move through a sea of people, perfectly protected.

But understanding the world in black and white is a limiting perspective.

And sometimes, it’s not black and white (whatever, “it,” might be). Sometimes it’s not sure or settled or defined. Sometimes the waters are murky. Sometimes the wind flips your umbrella inside out. And sometimes you don’t have all the answers.

All of this is okay. You are okay.

“[insert your name here], you are exactly where you’re supposed to be.

Completely imperfect,

Michael

2 thoughts on “God bless the broken umbrella that led me straight to screaming out loud when it flipped inside out.

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