Arbitrary Standards

***This post is written as part of Sprite’s Keeper’s weekly Spin Cycle, the topic of which, this week, is “Motto.”  Thanks, Jen!***

I am not one to sugar-coat my life for the internet, or anyone.

Wisdom Teeth AftermathOh wait—hadn’t you noticed?

I am so easily annoyed with bloggers who do that—you know the kind?  Bloggers whose lives are perfectly lovely, whose homes are sparklingly spotless, whose husbands are always so thoughtful (SQUEE!!!)…they get on my nerves.

Now, it would be a disservice to myself and my readers if I didn’t try to see my own opinions from other people’s perspectives, so let me take a moment to do that: I can certainly see the appeal of living a perfect life, or at least portraying such for the internet.  Everybody wants good things in their lives—everybody wants their dreams to come true.  I don’t know any girl who wants the worst for herself.  And though it’s true that nobody’s life really is perfect, I can see why some people fake like it is—it’s nice to be perfect.

Unfortunately, perfection does not exist {at least, not in this realm of the universe}.

Camille & PKClassic PK & me.  Circa 2006.

Back when Poor Kyle and I were dating—that is, when he used to go out of his way to make me happy {as opposed to now, where he goes out of his way to annoy the beep out of me}—I would do that obnoxious girlfriend thing where, any time he told me he loved me, I’d ask, “But why?”

His go-to answer (sure, he had a standard go-to answer—wouldn’t you, if your girlfriend begged for compliments all the time?) was always, “Because you’re perfect.”

And you know what?  I hated that. It was sweet of him to say, for sure, but I knew, even then, that true perfection of character was an impossible ideal—an arbitrary, unattainable standard.  I dreaded the day that we’d find ourselves quarreling.  I always knew the day would come that Poor Kyle would realise I was far from perfect.

That’s the thing about being put high up on a pedestal—falling off is quite inevitable.

And so, I decided years ago that I didn’t want to be perfect.  I’ve never needed a perfect GPA—just good enough to get me into college (and thereafter, just good enough to get my degree).  I don’t strive for perfect hair or skin—it would take too much energy (and nonexistent money) to maintain.  Instead, I try to look my best when it matters…and I try not to care when it doesn’t.  I’m not a perfect baker or housekeeper or piano player or daughter.  I’m certainly not a perfect wife.  I try my hardest at all those things, but if—no, when—I inevitably screw something up, I (almost always) let it go.

The Nester’s motto is “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”

I’ve always been drawn to, and inspired by, that sentiment; but it’s not quite right for my own life motto.  I need it to be more comprehensive…  For me, the motto that I have lived by during most of my adult life (though I am only learning it lately {there’s something to be said about the self-improving nature of cathartic blogging}) is this:

“I don’t have to be perfect or beautiful—or even just okay—to be good enough.”

I’m very forgiving of my own trespasses.  Isn’t that nice of me?

What motto describes your life?

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
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25 Responses to Arbitrary Standards

  1. Chloe says:

    Yeah, you’re right. Life is not perfect. My life is full of mistakes. But I love it. Because without those mistakes, it wouldn’t be my life.
    I also hated when Jimmy used to say I was perfect and also dreaded the day that he would realise all my imperfections. But today he loves me even though I’m not perfect. And that makes me happy!

  2. Jenn says:

    I wish I had the nerve to talk about the bad stuff on my blog, but I feel like doing that will hurt my husband . . . so I try to keep it positive. I’d also love to bitch and moan about working, but that will get you fired these days! More power to you, your blog is honest and great, I love it!

  3. I find it hard to adopt a motto when things seem to change from day to day. Right now, given my situation, it’s “one day at a time” since I’ve run the gamut of hopeful to rejected to realistic to impossible fancy. And that’s just what’s going on in my head! You’re linked!

  4. Mikelle says:

    Ha. I laughed at the part where you said he used to try to go out of his way to make you happy, now he just tries to annoy you…so , so true!

  5. Alyssa says:

    I like that motto! I’d have to say mine is one of my mother’s signature quotes: “Everything always works out”. Sounds cliche and airy but it’s definitely proven to be true throughout my life, even during life-changingly-bad times.

  6. lindsay says:

    i dunno if i would say this is my life’s motto, but it’s a quote from Clay that I probably say to myself at least once daily: “If you’re an idiot, you have to do everything in life twice.”….obviously, when i screw something up and have to re-do it or completely start over, this little piece of advice at least makes it funny.

  7. Katie says:

    Great motto! And I totally agree. Life can’t be perfect ALL THE TIME and its usually a lot more fun when its not!

    My motto might be “Live and let live.” “To each his own.” “Whatever floats your boat.” You know, something like that.

  8. Cristin says:

    I don’t know if I have a motto, but I also have to agree about the bloggers who’s lives are perfect. In fact, I sometimes log in anonymously and leave obnoxious comments because it is just too tempting not to.

  9. I love the quote: “Come what may, and love it” so it is my motto in life…

    As for blogging, I like to only focus on the positive in my life, because doing so helps me to be grateful for all that I have. If others are annoyed by it…well, then that’s life :)

  10. jami says:

    THis is why we are friends! I hate it when people fake happiness!
    Sometimes I worry that I put to many happy things on my blog, and that people are thinking that I am overly happy! I mean i am happy…but seriously (like you said ), nothing is perfect.
    and we all know how much I ask “but why” to Spencer….

  11. Alexa Mae says:

    I love the quote: “Any person can handle the battles of just one day, it is when we add the burdens of yesterday and tomorrow that we break down. So let us live one day at a time.” I think about that almost everyday, how true it is. I know what you mean about faking happy. When I’m not happy I definitely don’t post about being happy. But what change my blogging ways is when Nie’s sisters said “her life isn’t perfect, but she focused on the beauty of her life, and the more she focused on it, the more beautiful it became.” I love the quote too. And I loved this post! I can’t wait to meet ya.

  12. Q. says:

    Hi Camille! Thanks for your comment at Q’s Eats. So so stinkin’ excited you’re trying the bread recipe! How did it turn out? I swear, I think my roommate may throw me out if I don’t bake another loaf of it for her to eat while I’m on vacation next week.

  13. Life is definitly not perfect. No one should pretend it is. I love blogs that tell about the good and the bad. The stuff everyone experiences

  14. Granmama says:

    Preston has taught me that “I AM HAPPY” goes a long way. I also like Joseph B. Wirthlin’s “COME WHAT MAY AND LOVE IT” quote. Pres, ZIna, and Jayden went swimming with me this a.m. It was Heavenly. Maybe my new motto should be “SWIM.”

  15. Molly says:

    hmmmm… motto for life….. “Do what makes you happy, but try not to be selfish. Good luck finding the happy balance”

    that is the motto my brain just told myself…. sound pitiful?

  16. Rachel says:

    Considering that I haven’t done my spin yet and it’s late Thursday night, I’m thinking “Procrastination doesn’t pay”…

  17. Christal says:

    can’t think of my motto right now but love yours!! Great post!

  18. Laufa says:

    It is wonderful how you have accepted your imperfections – some people cannot do it. Great spin!

  19. I agree. Perfect is so boring and NEVER the whole story.

  20. Jethro says:

    not really a motto, but, confidence, sometimes self ascribed, my final grandstand, family, and, still being alive.

  21. DeAnna says:

    It’s My Mess And I Love It! I actually have it on a tapestry hanging on my wall!! I can organize things like nobody’s business, but the keeping things clean part really isn’t my forte. Don’t get me wrong, I clean, I just hate doing it and am more of an organized mess person.

  22. malia says:

    I think it’s really easy to differentiate between those who blog because they are happy about life, and those who blog to convince themselves or others that they have a perfect life.

    I think life attracts life, the quality of that life is up to the interpreter. But I find that people who are original (my definition meaning someone who is true to themselves) is hard to find but easy to recognize.

  23. Excellent post. You know what, I have the same train of thought. I can’t stand blogs that try to make life look so perfect. It isn’t. My life is perfect, yes. But it’s all the ridiculousness and hell-ish moments that make it perfect. The motto that describes my life: “life’s a bitch and so am I.”

  24. Pippa says:

    Good spin, I understand what you are saying so erm perfectly…

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