I think everyone is perfect.
This would be the superficial statement I would make in the movie version of my life before the “flashbacks” and “character building” part of the script began. It would be the final thing I’d say after a long pontification (thanks, Mom, for teaching me that word a billion years ago) and right before some tragedy struck. It would be the platitude I’d lob at some audience that thought I had a clue what I was doing or saying. It would be the type of thing I can imagine myself saying before I had to reveal that I really didn’t know what I was talking about, was just learning a ton like everyone else, and couldn’t really be bothered to pretend anymore.
In the movie version of my life, you’d watch a couple of hours of me going through hardship, experiencing love and love lost, trying to understand myself let alone how I interacted with others, and becoming acutely aware of the ways I’d failed to be the best version of myself.
Many might find this part of the movie to be sad or forlorn and I find it uplifting.
The struggles, hardships, and excruciating sorrows are where I have learned the most about how to be a better man. And the times of boundless joy are the reminders of what I should aspire to.
So this brings me to the Bundy’s. Frankly, I hated this show when it was actually on TV. I didn’t get it. Why would I want to watch a show about a family that wasn’t perfect — that didn’t have it all together. And just recently I realized –– it was during that exact same time (from the age of 8 to 18) that my own understanding of my family was becoming more realistic and less optimistic. I was beginning to see that we were not “the perfect family.”
There was catastrophe in my life during this time that made the “imperfection” of my family an unavoidable reality I had to face personally, but one that I struggled and fought to keep secret and private from others. I went from being a well-to-do “Parkridge kid” to “an apartment kid.” I was only reminded of the stigma of that distinction alone yesterday when I drove back to my hometown to see my best friends Ace and Jade and we reminisced about the latent class-warfare of University Place, Washington. (Yes, that was meant to sound ridiculous.)
The Bundy’s were flawed in classic sitcom archetypal ways, but they accepted their “flaws” and in many cases drew upon them as sources of strength. They didn’t try to be something they weren’t…and even when they sometimes did…they were quickly drawn back to the core of who they were. They also intrinsically supported one another and never failed to back each other up, even if sometimes causing a little commotion. I love this show now. It demonstrates the unconditional nature of family. My sister can piss me off quicker than anyone on this planet but if she were threatened or hurting, I would blow up continents to make sure she was protected. The same goes for everyone I love.
The Bundy’s understood the role acceptance plays in our ability to navigate the twists and turns of life.
When I am truly happy, acceptance allows me to really drink it in and feel it — not doubt that I deserve it or endlessly worry something bad might happen to destroy it. When I’m sad, acceptance allows me to move past fighting the reality and blaming myself and instead look towards the future I can create.
So let me lay down some definitional statements here that stand at the top of Project Sticky Note…at the top is “FLAWLESS” and the definition is “having no imperfection, defect, improvement opportunity now, or ever throughout eternity” — this is God, Faith, Love. It will never be us.
But I think each of us is “PERFECT” (at least via my definition) and this is defined as, “EXACTLY AS IT SHOULD BE…inclusive of the acceptance of all things unchangeable but not exactly as planned.”
…and that’s why I think everyone is perfect.