Wednesday, March 14, 2012

You Don't Have To Be Perfect

You want to be perfect.

You have the image in your mind of a Justice Warrior who does everything right. Justice Warrior has absolute clarity of moral vision one hundred percent of the time, and invariably acts on this clarity in a way that is unimpeachably perfect: perfectly intersectional, perfectly respectful of the dignity and worth of every human being, perfectly right. Justice Warrior never fucks up. Justice Warrior has fully extirpated all internalized -isms and never perpetuates oppression in any way. Justice Warrior never runs out of spoons.

And Justice Warrior is overflowing with love for all people. Justice Warrior is so sensitive to the needs and feelings of others that Justice Warrior can enact the righteous work of ending oppression without hurting anyone's feelings. Justice Warrior knows that love and justice are not in opposition, and walks a perfect balance of combating systemic issues and educating individuals; of radicalism and meeting people where they're at; of righting wrongs and connecting with people; of justice and love.

You will never be perfect.

You can't do it. You can't be the perfect radical, you can't be the perfect friend, and you sure as shit can't be perfect at both.

You need the imaginary Justice Warrior. You need this picture in your mind, as something you can strive toward (even knowing that it is unrealistic and you will never get there). You need at least the concept of perfection, to feed the fire for love and justice in your heart.

But also – and this is crucial – when you're feeling crushed by your own expectations, when you're constantly feeling like an utter failure because you can't possibly measure up to the image of perfection in your mind, you need to remember:

You don't have to be perfect.


  1. (Hey, I love the new look!)

    So... Justice Warrior is Jesus.

    I don't know if you intended that, but it's exactly how I understand Jesus to (have) be(en).

    1. Thank you! I decided I needed something a little less bland.

      I guess I wasn't thinking consciously of Jesus, but you're right - that's exactly who he is.