I have not been blogging for a while. I made the conscious choice to stay away from anything that involved investing too much time and energy analyzing the what and wherefore of every sordid detail of everything that I had observed about life to create some meaningless content on my blog. Instead of playing spectator to a stage of external events, situations, and issues before me, I started to walk introspectively to play spectator to myself.
I spent the last few months wading through an emotional and mental transformation that involved my letting go of aspects of myself that I had come to dislike. Every effort that I had used to make towards being better than what I was yesterday, at work, at home, in my personal life, and at the gym were deemed as an incomprehensible display of inane vanity that served to support my ego. Every expectation that I had placed on others to be better than they were yesterday, at work, at home, in their personal lives and at the gym were deemed as an intolerance to anything or anyone that could not compete with my ego and I.
I woke up one day to the fact that if I could not be everything to everyone, then I should not be expecting that of myself. Nothing needs to be that perfect. Life is not a checklist of “things - I –need- to- do”. I did not need to push for an achievement in every aspect of my life to feel complete. And if I was not expecting that of myself, why should I be expecting that of others?
The Perfect Marriage
David and I founded our marriage on the principle that we were Best Friends First. There was zero romance, very little time spent together, and we might have possibly violated some acceptable norms of a traditional marriage. We did not feel compelled to be the perfect spouse, having to message each other ever so often to say something inane like “I love you babes.” Didn’t we already know that? We did not feel compelled to set aside a specific time for date night. For goodness sakes, when we sparred at the gym and I spent half that time dodging his jabs, that was a date night. We did not feel compelled to plan an annual vacation together. When he had a photography assignment overseas, he would ask if I would like to come along and extend a few days after his work to enjoy some “we time” exploring the sights and doing street photography.
We are indeed Best Friends First. So that would mean that even in the absence of romance, hair, obliques and one’s own teeth, everything about this marriage was perfect to us. I chose to let go of societal norms of what a perfect marriage should be. I refused to be defined by other people’s definitions of what romance was. I disliked reading women’s magazines which spewed advice about what good communication, togetherness and romance in marriage should look like. This would be an example of a romantic conversation that we might have.
David, “I would like to nuzzle my beard in your neck.”
Me, “No need. Thanks. By the way, where are my yellow handwraps?”
We do have the most perfectly imperfect marriage.
The Perfect Mother
Joel and I have the most unusual parent-child relationship founded on the fact that I had very little maternal instincts and plenty of respect for Joel as an individual. When Joel was little, my friends would be carefully planning their children’s meals to provide them with balanced nutrition. However, Joel and I would sometimes share a Snickers bar for breakfast, against the advice of friends who felt I was callous about nutrition for his growth. I remembered trekking hills and climbing mountains with a 1 year old strapped to my back, against the advice of friends who were worried that an accident might happen to the boy or he might catch dengue fever or malaria. As he grew older, and went into national service, our idea of fun back home was challenging each other with diamond push-ups or chin-ups. I was not a traditional mother the way my Mom was to me. Mom made sure I had hot food on the table every time I got home. I just made sure Joel knew how to create his own meals every time he got home. Mom made sure my clothes were always nicely washed and ironed. I just made sure Joel knew how to do his own laundry. I did not feel compelled to turn up at every concert Joel was performing at when he was in school. However I was there every time he went through a hard time at school, or through a break up with some unimportant cow.
He was never academically inclined and often did not do brilliantly in his exams. While other parents would panic and throw tutors and enrichment classes at their children, I ignored the pressure and just walked with him through the several parent-teacher meetings, praying that one day, he would look back at this stressful academic system when he grew up and laugh because he had brilliantly created his own opportunities for success in a world that did not give a damn if you had won the egg and spoon race in secondary school. I chose to let go of any preconceptions of what a perfect mother should be. When I was younger, I was often left out of mother-baby groups where the women got along very well because they followed the rules of what good mothering was all about, whatever they were. I sometimes felt guilty that I was not the mother to Joel the way Mom was to me. However when I watched Joel grow up to be a strapping young man with values far older than he actually was, I thought I might have done a bloody good job, with no regrets.
I did not define my relationship with Joel with hugs, kisses and terms of endearment. There was no need to. This would be a typical conversation Joel and I might have.
Me, “Joel, you’re my favorite son.”
Joel, “But Mom, I am your only son.”
Me, “Oh yes.”
In our world, Joel and I has the most perfectly imperfect mother-son relationship.
The Perfect Marketing Department
I used to push myself at work, with my brain switched on almost 24 hours a day 7 days a week, thinking through marketing plans, poking holes into every proposal that landed at my desk and dreaming up of marketing content and ideas at every chance I got. Everything that came out of my department had to be perfect. With 20 years of Marketing experience amassed at some of the most prestigious blue chip companies, how can anything that I touched be less than perfect? The reality is, those years back then meant nothing if I refused to grow alongside a world that had evolved with opportunities for others who might not have had the relevant experience, skills nor qualifications, yet had the balls to create brilliant marketing ideas that added value to the community. They might not have been the most perfect plans but they worked to our business and marketing objectives.
When I lifted this myopic veil of egoistic perceptions of what could be the perfect marketing plan, then I was able to uncover the passion, tenacity, and authenticity of creative souls who merely wanted a chance at making a difference through scope of work that I had initially claimed as my own out of sheer arrogance. When I accepted that there was no such thing as the most perfect marketing plan, I was able to open my heart and mind to learn from others who did not have the same skills and experience as I did.
This made for a perfectly imperfect working environment at which I got excited about every day when I showed up for work.
The Perfect Home
My housekeeper Evelyn had been away for the past 3 weeks on vacation back to her hometown in the Philippines. Knowing that I was not exactly a Domestic Diva and would not have been able to tell the difference between the washing machine and the microwave oven, she set aside some time before she left, to teach me how to use the appliances at home, and pointed out where all the equipment and the washing liquids were kept. Secretly, I was furious. This was my home. How could I not know how to upkeep my home, right? My pride caused my nose to get dented out of bent when she wrote a timetable out for me to dictate when I should have my bed linen changed, when the dogs needed their bath and which capsule in the washing machine was for the laundry detergent and which one was for the fabric softener.
When I recovered enough to tell my ego to go to hell, I sat down with David and Joel to map out a plan to divide and conquer the chores. As the days went by without Evelyn at home, I became more comfortable with the routine of juggling all my priorities with the help of David and Joel. And I realized that over time, I accepted that it was okay to not have a home that was perfectly neat and tidy. I valued quality time with the family over a sparkling clean kitchen. The pile of clean laundry that needed ironing kept growing. However I was not pedantic about getting them all ironed and put away at a specific time. It could wait. I have better things to do, like spending some good quality time with the family. I did, in the end, come back to a perfect home. It was a perfect home with a family that was not stressed about a little speck of dust on the shelf, or a white sock that had turned purple in the wash.
As I wrote this post, I began to love the imperfections within me and around me a lot more. The best thing I did for myself in these few months, was to wake up celebrating just being the imperfect me, appreciating the imperfect people in this most imperfect world.
About The Writer
The writer of this blog post is a Marketing and PR professional for over 20 years. Due to her love for Combat Sports, she is also a freelance sports writer on the side, contributing articles to several sports media. She works in partnership with her husband, David Ash, who is an avid sports photographer from www.singaporemaven.com. She is passionate about Boxing and nurtures a dream to fight competitively one day when her coach stops making fun of her. She is also a psychic intuitive by birth and runs a consultancy that does tarot and numerology readings under her brand, Sun Goddess Tarot. This blog is affectionately called "The Crazy AngMo" as she is married to one, although she has not yet explained to THE Ang Mo that when translated, he has been labeled “the bloke with ginger hair”.