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Starting to Let Go of Perfect

My eldest daughter asked me if this old journal was mine & if I wanted it back.  I totally recognized it.  It had been a half birthday gift from my mother.   She’s been gone a long time, but she manages to be a continuing part of our lives.

Written on the inside cover was “Recieved June 26,1984”.  My National Spelling Bee daughter had even more proof I can’t spell.  That’s how she knew it was mine.  It had a misspelling, that horrible thing that stopped me from journaling so many times in the past.  I asked her if she wanted to use it as a journal since every page was completely blank.

She was hesitant that since it had history she wouldn’t do it “right”.  Not to worry I reassured her.  It has been floating around for 18 years and hadn’t been used for that very reason.  It was up to her to use it.  She interrupted to say, “It was more like 28 years.”  That’s a reality slap- it really was 28 years!

I decided to write on the first page with the first thing I could grab ( a Sharpie of course) and I misspelled that word on purpose- I swear!  I am embracing my inner speller.  Now it has been ruined, flawed, and will never be perfect.  She is comfortable writing in it now.

Nobody in 28 years wrote in that journal because it was seen as precious.  It has memories, but I don’t believe it belongs in a museum.  It should be used.  I often look at a blank page as precious.  Why?  It is just a piece of paper and there is another under it.   So I just grabbed stuff and started.  It can be imperfect.  It can be flawed.

****Here is the conversation my daughter and I had after this post went live. ****

Daughter: Hey Mom, I read your blog post! I really liked it.
Me: What did you think of the title?
Daughter: What, “Starting to Let Go of Perfect”? I thought it was good. It fit very well.
Me: Well, I’m not quite sure I like it. I don’t know if it’s just right for it…
Daughter: Mom…you need to start letting go of perfect.
Me: *laughed so hard I think I pulled a muscle*
Daughter: Sometimes I feel like I’m raising you as much as you’re raising me!

Darned if she wasn’t right- I do need to let go of perfect.  A teenager who is actually right….


{ 26 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment

  • Madeline January 29, 2012, 9:11 pm

    Mom, you’re the best. I love you.

  • Lori - What Remains Now January 29, 2012, 10:03 pm


  • Rita McGregor January 30, 2012, 7:29 am

    I’ve slowly been using different things of mine the past couple of years that I have hung onto believing they were too special to use–so I loved this post!! I hope your daughter really enjoys the diary! 🙂

  • Create With Joy January 30, 2012, 7:51 am

    Dear Carolyn,

    I absolutely love this post – it speaks to my heart! I think I need to start EVERY journal the way you did – because I have shelves lined with beautiful books that I buy because I imagine all of the wonderful things I will write in them – and then, of course, I never do because of the fear of imperfection!

    PLEASE share this at Inspire Me Monday – and while you’re there, link up your Happiness Post too – that really made me smile!

    Have a fabulous, creative week!


  • Pauline Leger January 30, 2012, 8:58 am

    How precious is this… (and your daughter!)
    I’ll bet seeing that beautiful red journal brought back memories for you.
    I love what you wrote on the first page too…misspelling & all. Great post. xoxo

  • Claude Prez January 30, 2012, 9:47 am

    I love little stories like this. Your daughter sounds delightful. Except how in the world did she make it to the National Spelling Bee with a mother who doesn’t know the “i before e except after c” rule? j/k; great stuff!

  • Carol January 30, 2012, 10:34 am

    Beautiful journal and great post ~ Gotta love those teen years ~ LOL ~namaste, carol (A Creative Harbor) linked with CED

  • Terrie: Creative Explorer January 30, 2012, 11:32 am

    A great reminder – this journal will be even more precious after your daughter fills it!

  • Bleubeard and Elizabeth January 30, 2012, 1:46 pm

    It’s amazing the wisdom of teens. Not only can she spell, but she can add, too! I thought this was an awesome post. I liked the true meaning behind it. too. I agree that if we don’t start, we will never use something and it will become a shrine until we die and someone buys it at a garage sale!

  • Cat @ sea.sky.stone. January 30, 2012, 6:11 pm

    Thanks to you, my drawer full of empty journals may now be getting the Sharpie treatment! Great post 🙂

  • Linda January 30, 2012, 6:38 pm

    This is so cute! That journal is very cute & I think things look better if they aren’t perfect 🙂

  • Paula - Buenos Aires January 30, 2012, 9:31 pm

    I had a journal very much like that one, at around the same time. Thanks for the memories! 😀

  • Cynthia January 30, 2012, 9:53 pm

    Love the conversation! Letting go of perfect is indeed hard to do. I’m so glad you’re headed down that path and taking us with you. 🙂

  • Fourborne January 30, 2012, 10:36 pm

    This is so sweet.

  • Tracey Fletcher King January 30, 2012, 11:48 pm

    28 years means that I left high school 28 years ago!!!! How can that be when I am still 25… aren’t I???… which kind of makes having an almost 16 year old almost impossible, but then again I have no clue how that happened either, one minute she is a sweet little thing, now she is a whirling dervish of energy and smart comments… think your daughter sounds much gentler than mine… want to swap?

  • linda January 31, 2012, 4:19 am

    You daughter sounds so wise… and I totally love your post… we all have a little something to learn about letting go of perfect.

  • Tat January 31, 2012, 5:51 am

    They are raising us for sure. And you spelled ‘start’ right 🙂

  • Tat January 31, 2012, 5:52 am

    I can’t believe I got your word verification first go! (I usually struggle with this version, it takes me no less than 3 attempts)

  • Marcie January 31, 2012, 8:14 am

    Amazing how much we learn from our daughters – wise mirrors of ourselves reflected back! And – I love how you’re teaching her to let go of perfect. A life’s work – for sure!

  • Kristen from Creative Stash January 31, 2012, 11:45 am

    This is great. What a wonderful story and conversation with your amazing daughter. I love that this journal brought memories of your mother and connected you and your daughter with this new memory. Starting a blank page and letting go of perfect are too very tough things but, they don’ have to be, we just give ourselves a hard time don’t we?! I’m glad she will us thsi!

  • Gwen January 31, 2012, 3:56 pm

    I agree, journals are made to write in, or to create art in or anything that comes to mind.

  • Nigel February 1, 2012, 3:55 am

    When I listen to my youngest I sometimes think that the thing about old age and wisdom is wrong, although wisdom was never really my strong point 😉

    It’s a lovely looking journal, I hope you both enjoy it now it’s ‘flawed’ 😀


  • Kelly February 1, 2012, 1:42 pm

    Great post! It could almost be a conversation between my son and myself. He is really trying to help me with my perfectionistic tendencies! Love the conversation with your daughter!
    Hugs and blessings

  • stargardener February 2, 2012, 1:18 pm

    What an inspiration! {And I love that your blog background makes me feel like I am underwater … going deep. Journaling deeper.} ♥

  • Cowgirl Red February 2, 2012, 4:48 pm

    Beautiful …. What were you saving it for? What a precious gift. xoxo Terah

  • dawn February 4, 2012, 6:12 am

    This was such a sweet story to tell, brought tears to my eyes. What a great role model you are for your daughter, she will remember this forever. As this story came from your mom and now thanks to your wisdom she will bring it down to her children. This is such a touching story, bookmarking it to remind me not to be afraid to mess up in my art journals. Thanks so much for sharing this.