A handmade sweater that is slightly too short and has a tiny hole on the collar made me think of defects. I’ve been asked why I wear that sweater , possibly because I don’t look a million dollars on it! People don’t like defects. When we go for shopping, we don’t want to purchase a defective product – an ill-fitting pair of jeans, a faded tshirt, discolored apples etc. Brings me to the thought , how far do we go to achieve materialistic perfection ?
Our lives are so driven by the need of materialistic perfection – that we forget to be happy and satisfied with what we have. Starting from the first day of school we become entangled in the web of materialistic needs to be happy. Playing with another child is not good enough, we have to be better than them. There is nothing wrong with a friendly competition, but we’re hardly taught winning is not always the best outcome. We fall into the status quo like popular, geeks, cool, and try to keep up with it becomes so important – we forget to appreciate each other’s differences – we end up trying to be friends with people we don’t like. We don’t even give a chance to lasting friendships that may have happened if we looked past the status quo. We grow up with the mind set of what society views as a perfect life: Finish studies, find one picture perfect love, get married, have kids, die happy. Ah! If only life was that simple! When we take decisions that alter the idea of the perfect life , society looks down on us. We are questioned about choices, we are judged on a shallow level simply because we don’t meet the materialistic view of other peoples idea of perfection.
How often have you heard ?
She became pregnant at 16! He dropped out of University! He married into another religion, he’s a widower and remarried! He’s not re-marrying for the children’s sake. She’s STILL single, is something wrong with her? She’s divorced, she’ll never be happy without a man.
The extent of our materialistic needs are so much that it even dominates love for a child. Children by birth are not spared from the demands for a perfection. Is the baby fair? Is the baby a boy or a girl ? Throughout the development of the child, parents worry constantly for the development of a child: speech development, movement development, intellectual development and hope to God that their child is “normal”, and not just for the sake of health. The scary part is when a child is not like other children. Excuse me for the derogatory term, but in some of our minds the child becomes defective. We live in a society where parents feel guilty and responsible that their child is not perfect. Our society do not give parents with disabled children the opportunity to cope with the unconventional lifestyle they get dragged onto. Their children are not looked as ‘normal’ – are not expected to have ‘normal’ life, education, profession etc. Not surprising when someone adapts a child, they usually look for perfectly ‘normal’ children, who are not physically or mentally disabled. When we want our child to live that perfect life – are we asking them to be happy or are we asking them to keep up with the social hunger for perfection ?
The truth is nobody is perfect. The girl on the magazine doesn’t even look like the girl on the magazine. Prince Charming isn’t real. What is real is imperfection. Like my less than perfect handmade sweater. No, it didn’t come from a machine, it was made from the love and patience of my mother and I value it more than any brand ever made.