A Girl and her Mask.

When your pursuit of perfection is the only real obstacle to your path to happiness.

During my childhood, my father has taught me the importance of rules and the virtue of respecting them.

Since then I have always found it pleasantly reassuring to remain within the dictates and guidelines.
Over time, this led me to believe that the highest level of human beings could only be reached through this.
A search to live within the strict standards imposed by the society in which I lived.
It was a kind of an obsession of mine, now not only related to the rules.

Mine was a conscious search to achieve perfection.

Everyone says that the uniqueness of every human being lies as much in flaws as in virtues.
They keep saying that.
But then, if you’re not perfect, you’re exposed to criticism, right?

And I’ve always been afraid of being criticized, because being criticized was the same for me as being rejected.

And I adapted my mask according to people and situations, like chameleons, trying to understand what the ideals of others were and identify with them.
Excellent in studying, hours of training at the gym every day, never a word out of place, always smiling, devoted Christian, submissive lover, tireless mother.

But in all this, where was I?

While the robot me performed mechanically every action necessary to please others, the real me laid asleep in the recesses of my existence.

Step by step, I was getting closer and closer to realizing what in my opinion was the apotheosis of a perfect existence:
I was engaged and getting ready to get married ;
I had a wonderful daughter;
I had a well-paid job;
I had a beautiful house on my own.
My parents were looking at me now with pride, because of the person I became.
Or perhaps, because of the mask I was wearing.

But looking at their happy faces, I felt empty.

I felt time flowing out of my hands like water and saw sequences of my life happening in the third person as if it were someone else’s.

And for the first time I asked myself:
Do you think you’re happy?

No.

And I heard remote echoes of crystal shattering.
And the golden patina that covered my existence suddenly dissipated, forcing me to confront with brutal ruthlessness what I was refused to see for too long.

Somewhere, the real me was waking up.

Panic.
How come, even though I had achieved what is socially considered a perfect life, it didn’t make me happy?
I was plunged into limbo.
I asked myself, what makes me really happy?
But I had no answer.
The truth was that, by dint of making other people’s desires mine, I couldn’t even remember what mine were anymore.

I remember I like reading.
Imagining worlds that don’t exist is a waste of time.
Drawing.
Drawing is for losers.
I like playing video games.
When are you going to grow up?
Cooking.
Finally. This suits a good wife.
…I really like cooking?
I like to see people happy when they taste what I’ve prepared.
Yes, I like cooking.

Happiness.

Sharing makes me happy.
I would say always and with everyone, but I would fall back into the mistake of trying to be perfect again.
Sharing makes me happy because I’m lucky enough to be able to do it with people I really love.

Sharing with those you love is happiness.
Forgetting to wear the mask and being yourself is happiness.
To stop focusing your life on what others would admire and simply live it in pursuing your dreams is happiness.

“Life is what happens to you while youre busy making other plans.”
— John Lennon

In conclusion.

I always hated the photos of me, mostly because I couldn’t control their result and I saw my image full of flaws.
I’ve always hated them, and I’ve always refused to allow others to take them.
At least until yesterday, when someone told me:
— You’re acting like this now, but I know you:
then you’ll look at those photos, you’ll be happy.

And now I’m looking at them.
And I’m seeing my imperfections.
And I’m happy.

You don’t have to be perfect.
You have to be happy.

🐾 Leaving paw-prints all around 🐾

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