There is no such thing as perfect. We are all a moveable feast, we are all growing and learning throughout our lives. Nothing ever stays the same.
I’ve started and deleted this post three times now because I keep avoiding the real topic: perfect people.
As such, I’m just going to throw this out and see where it goes.
A few things I will mention first. These are a combination of things I’ve known for a long time and a few things I’ve uncovered since the reveal of my betrayal. In no particular order:
- I am the oldest child in a generationally incestuous, neglectful, and alcoholic home with a drunken mother, absentee father and a professionally diagnosed narcissistic brother.
- As the oldest, I was held responsible for my brother’s behavior, my mother’s emotional and physical well-being, and taught my needs and wants were selfish.
- I grew up at the bottom of the social food chain that resulted in nearly every single day of my teenage years being verbally and physically assaulted and bullied at school, on the bus, and walking home from school. I had a small and fickle set of friends.
- Family, friends, peers, teachers, and the adults around me taught me needs and wants are unimportant, selfish, odd, weird, stupid, and generally silly.
- I was taught secret-keeping is essential for protecting the family from hurt.
- I was taught vulnerability is a weapon to be used against you at some point down the road by those closest to you.
- There is a generational history of estrangements in my family making the family I have extremely important.
- I am an INFP (introversion, intuition, feeling, perception – at least that is what the test says…over and over and over). That is 4% of the population. When you and I start talking I see you – the good, bad, and ugly.
- I am hypervigilant so I read people – the good, bad, and ugly.
- I am empathic which results in me feeling you – the good, bad, and ugly.
- I suffer from an anxiety disorder that makes me want to avoid conflict, embarrassment, and humiliation.
- The vast majority of my inner circle of friends are women.
- My grandfather’s favorite two expressions were, “You broke it. You fix it,” and “It’s too far from your heart to kill you. Walk it off.”
- Like aspects of my marriage to K, the divorce was ugly.
- When I was 25 I was physically, emotionally, and sexually betrayed by my first wife. It nearly killed me and I swore I would never be that vulnerable to anyone again. Ever.
If you know these things about me, and take a moment to walk in my shoes, you know exactly why I betrayed C and K. You know why I keep secrets and told lies. You also know why I didn’t realize the trap I had built into my life until after it sprung. You also know that none of my damage justifies my behavior.
A few other things worth mentioning:
- I am pragmatically optimistic. Author and historian William Stott wrote, “That the world can be improved and yet must be celebrated as it is are contradictions. The beginning of maturity may be the recognition that both are true.“
- I believe in the future but believe it has to be built.
- I believe people’s intentions rarely match their actions perfectly but that everyone is making the effort to do better. No one gets up planning to make a situation worse.
- I like people and am fascinated by their lives and experiences.
- I find the expression and science of human sexuality consistently the most fascinating aspect of humanity.
- I have no use for religious, political, or social dogmas. I am, by temperament, a non-conformist that occasionally conforms for expediency.
- I’ve accepted the reality that I am odd but I don’t always like it.
- I care what you think but my non-conforming nature makes me do what I need and want anyway…eventually.
- My doctor said, “Sean if you were on a desert island you would thrive but you keep wading into the ocean to see how deep it is.”
- I bonded with C. She is my soul passion. I feel about her in a way I’ve never felt for another person before. My original intention was just to sleep with her. I had no control over how deeply or passionately I fell for her. Trying to break the bond has been like emptying the ocean one thimble at a time.
- I am enthusiastic about my Love for C, the people around me, the community, and the future and have never been afraid to show it.
- I will do what I can to ensure the people around me are successful, happy, and free.
- I believe people will always betray and disappoint you, especially the people we care for most. Expectations are premeditated resentments.
- I have always seen C. I see her good and bad. Now I’ve seen her Ugly and I still accept her. This is not unique to C, I generally do this with everyone. Generally.
If you know these things about me, and take a moment to walk in my shoes, you know exactly why I continue to reach out to C, make myself vulnerable over and over, and embrace, with intention, compassion.
I’m not perfect. I’m human.
I’m, to borrow from Perel, still writing the story. I’m “a moveable feast” growing and learning how to be, not more perfect, but rather more human.
120: There Is No Such Thing As Perfection
The expectation that one person will satisfy all of our many emotional, physical, and spiritual needs is a tall order. Instead of looking for a person who checks all the boxes, focus on a person with whom you can imagine yourself writing a story with.
Another gem of a quote popped up on my Twitter from Esther Perel not so long ago. Watch the 4 minute video here for her words of wisdom all wrapped up in a sexy Belgian accent: The expectation that one person will satisfy all of our many emotional, physical, and spiritual needs is a tall […]