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Why We Shouldn't Normalize The "Perfectly Imperfect" Slogan

Lifestyle

"The goal in life is not to attain some imaginary ideal; it is to find and fully use our own gifts.” - The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear & Take Life To The Next Level by Gay Hendricks


We all know what it’s like to visit a friend who just had a baby, or even that magical moment of getting a new puppy when the words spill out of our mouths: “They’re perfect!”

So exactly when does that change? When do we shift from this perfect miracle of life to “perfectly imperfect”? Is it when we first start to cry as we advocate for our needs? Is it when we start to cultivate our courage by touching and exploring places and spaces we’ve never been? Is it when we speak up when noticing an injustice? Is it when we get scared and say or do something that we later regret? Is it when we begin to notice sexual energy coursing through our bodies as the most gorgeous specimen of life enters the room?

When exactly do we go the route of imperfection? Perhaps it's when shame sets in, judgement bubbles up, self-analysis won't quit, and we are left with something less than perfection.

But understand none of that is native to you.

As women, we carry an incredible willingness to bow to what has become one of the most popular and bogus taglines of today’s self-help (misunderstood religious dogma) movement: “perfectly imperfect.” There are three primary challenges with this ever-normalized slogan:

1. The hijacked mind of limitation keeps us where we are, stunting the magnificent presence we are.

Stunting our magnificent presence keeps us in a survivalist mindset. When we let our mind run the show on its own, it taps into the reptilian part of the brain and sees through filters of limitation and threats. Not only will the mind see the external world as something to be defended against, but it will seek out the problems, obstacles and challenges right where we are. As we evolve as a species and become increasingly aware of our potential and capacity, it is extremely valuable to challenge the predominant thought forms and opinions and really ask ourselves: “Do I believe that? Do I believe that there is something in me that is fundamentally imperfect?”

2. It is a complete setup to defer or outsource responsibility.

When we outsource, someone else is holding the reins. Outsourcing our responsibility and affirming our helplessness is the basis of every great fairytale. And that is seductive. Don’t we all, on some level, wish that someone would come along and save us? And yet, the drama triangle of victim, villain and hero is tired and unfulfilling. It affirms and deepens the belief that we don’t have all that we need within us.

3. Shame sets in and it’s like doing the butterfly stroke hard and arduous!

We begin the ruthless game of comparison. An internal dialogue gets noisier and noisier, orienting our attention to our deficits. That pattern is chemically addictive to the brain.

This psychosis of making ourselves wrong creates ripe brain space for the perfectly imperfect message.

To suggest that ultimately our greatest and deepest sense of self is flawed is what continues to create generational and systemic layers of suffering. We are not imperfect. We are not perfectly imperfect. We are stardust who have the elements of the universe in us. There is nothing imperfect about that. So stop buying that bullshit.

"You’re capable of more than you know." - Glinda, The Good Witch in “The Wizard of Oz.”

As entrepreneurs, creatives and all around badass-beings, it is perfect to have a healthy ego. It is necessary to be able to boldly declare, “We are the ones here to shift business, to transform organizations and to splash self-expression all over this spot.” The ego has gotten a bad rep. It has been blamed for every bit of suffering humanity has experienced.

For generations, we have been led to believe that we must work to lose any sense of the ego to achieve the most noble of titles: a “nice” woman. That may not be the language we were each fed, but it was the message. And yet, the ego is essential. It’s the part of our unique personality that has the capacity to make decisions, discern appropriate strategies and tactics for specific environments, seek out pleasure and avoid pain, which are all good things!

Yes, the overactive ego can cause us to spin out but that doesn’t mean it’s inherently imperfect. We are growing, evolving human experiments who are perfect! Let’s lay down the old, inherited and limited ideas of how we “should” be and give ourselves the gift of tapping into what we really desire.

Slough off that played out idea of perfectly imperfect. Let’s start taking 100% responsibility for the perfect attributes, talents, history and circumstances that we each uniquely possess. Even our most challenging moments are intended for our genius.

No one can do life like each of us can. No one. Imagine the world we could create if we each owned our perfection.

Culture

A Modern Day Witch Hunt: How Caster Semenya's Gender Became A Hot Topic In The Media

Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.


Within their own division, women have reached new heights, received accolades for outstanding physical performance and endurance, and have proven themselves to be as capable of athletic excellence as men. In spite of women's collective fight to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts, female athletes must now prove their womanhood in order to compete alongside their own gender.

That has been the reality for Caster Semenya, a South African Olympic champion, who has been at the center of the latest gender discrimination debate across the world. After crushing her competition in the women's 800-meter dash in 2016, Semenya was subjected to scrutiny from her peers based upon her physical appearance, calling her gender into question. Despite setting a new national record for South Africa and attaining the title of fifth fastest woman in Olympic history, Semenya's success was quickly brushed aside as she became a spectacle for all the wrong reasons.

Semenya's gender became a hot topic among reporters as the Olympic champion was subjected to sex testing by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). According to Ruth Padawer from the New York Times, Semenya was forced to undergo relentless examination by gender experts to determine whether or not she was woman enough to compete as one. While the IAAF has never released the results of their testing, that did not stop the media from making irreverent speculations about the athlete's gender.

Moments after winning the Berlin World Athletics Championship in 2009, Semenya was faced with immediate backlash from fellow runners. Elisa Cusma who suffered a whopping defeat after finishing in sixth place, felt as though Semenya was too masculine to compete in a women's race. Cusma stated, "These kind of people should not run with us. For me, she is not a woman. She's a man." While her statement proved insensitive enough, her perspective was acknowledged and appeared to be a mutually belief among the other white female competitors.

Fast forward to 2018, the IAAF issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) that apply to events from 400m to the mile, including 400m hurdles races, 800m, and 1500m. The regulations created by the IAAF state that an athlete must be recognized at law as either female or intersex, she must reduce her testosterone level to below 5 nmol/L continuously for the duration of six months, and she must maintain her testosterone levels to remain below 5 nmol/L during and after competing so long as she wishes to be eligible to compete in any future events. It is believed that these new rules have been put into effect to specifically target Semenya given her history of being the most recent athlete to face this sort of discrimination.

With these regulations put into effect, in combination with the lack of information about whether or not Semenya is biologically a female of male, society has seemed to come to the conclusion that Semenya is intersex, meaning she was born with any variation of characteristics, chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals. After her initial testing, there had been alleged leaks to media outlets such as Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper which stated that Semenya's results proved that her testosterone levels were too high. This information, while not credible, has been widely accepted as fact. Whether or not Semenya is intersex, society appears to be missing the point that no one is entitled to this information. Running off their newfound acceptance that the Olympic champion is intersex, it calls into question whether her elevated levels of testosterone makes her a man.

The IAAF published a study concluding that higher levels of testosterone do, in fact, contribute to the level of performance in track and field. However, higher testosterone levels have never been the sole determining factor for sex or gender. There are conditions that affect women, such as PCOS, in which the ovaries produce extra amounts of testosterone. However, those women never have their womanhood called into question, nor should they—and neither should Semenya.

Every aspect of the issue surrounding Semenya's body has been deplorable, to say the least. However, there has not been enough recognition as to how invasive and degrading sex testing actually is. For any woman, at any age, to have her body forcibly examined and studied like a science project by "experts" is humiliating and unethical. Under no circumstances have Semenya's health or well-being been considered upon discovering that her body allegedly produces an excessive amount of testosterone. For the sake of an organization, for the comfort of white female athletes who felt as though Semenya's gender was an unfair advantage against them, Semenya and other women like her, must undergo hormone treatment to reduce their performance to that of which women are expected to perform at. Yet some women within the athletic community are unphased by this direct attempt to further prove women as inferior athletes.

As difficult as this global invasion of privacy has been for the athlete, the humiliation and sense of violation is felt by her people in South Africa. Writer and activist, Kari, reported that Semenya has had the country's undying support since her first global appearance in 2009. Even after the IAAF released their new regulations, South Africans have refuted their accusations. Kari stated, "The Minister of Sports and Recreation and the Africa National Congress, South Africa's ruling party labeled the decision as anti-sport, racist, and homophobic." It is no secret that the build and appearance of Black women have always been met with racist and sexist commentary. Because Black women have never managed to fit into the European standard of beauty catered to and in favor of white women, the accusations of Semenya appearing too masculine were unsurprising.

Despite the countless injustices Semenya has faced over the years, she remains as determined as ever to return to track and field and compete amongst women as the woman she is. Her fight against the IAAF's regulations continues as the Olympic champion has been receiving and outpour of support in wake of the Association's decision. Semenya is determined to run again, win again, and set new and inclusive standards for women's sports.