While we were sewing, I shared with K my sewing mantra--the little chant I repeat to myself during every sewing project that I undertake:
Perfect is the enemy of good.
I'm not a good enough seamstress to make it perfect. I'm just not. If I try for perfection, it will take forever and I'll never be satisfied. There will also be lots of crying and cursing. (I mean, even more than usual--some cursing is generally par for the course when it comes to me and sewing.)
(For the record, I neither cried nor cursed last night--this project went pretty smoothly!)
When I sew, I force myself to let go of my perfectionist tendencies. I know that no one else will notice that slightly crooked seam, or the way that corner is just a little bit wonky. I remind myself that people who receive things I've sewn are focused on the project as a whole, not on the piecing or the stitching. I try to remember that the other awesome thing about sewing is that it's sort of a rare skill these days, so most people are just amazed that I can use a sewing machine to make anything--they aren't inspecting it to see if the item is meticulously put together. I also keep in mind that if you look at a lot of store-bought things--clothing, curtains, etc.--they don't always have perfect seams or stitches either.
After some hard-fought battles with myself and my sewing machine, I've discovered that sewing is only fun for me if I let go of perfect and settle for good.
And "good" doesn't necessarily mean "mediocre." Sometimes--when my machine cooperates and the stars align--good can be really great! Never perfect, but definitely more than good enough.
So each time I have to rip out a seam, or I frown at a mistake that seems glaring in the moment, I say to myself: "Perfect is the enemy of good."
I can apply this to sewing projects, but I sure as hell have a hard time letting go of "perfect" when it comes to my life.
Here's the thing. However we define "perfect," my life will never be perfect. Because I'll never get to have a life that includes Eliza here with me. That will always be my greatest sorrow, my everlasting regret.
Obviously I could not equate losing my daughter to screwing up a pillow cover. But it's not too much of a leap to realize that if I can't let go of perfect in this life, I'll risk missing out on what's good.
Refusing to live a less than perfect life means I'm not living at all.
Christmas will never be perfect for me and my family. That knowledge breaks my heart into a million pieces. I can't tell you how many tears I've cried (am crying, will continue to cry) over the imperfection of celebrating a holiday without Eliza here.
But if I can (eventually?) accept that perfection is unattainable, then I can make do with all the good things that we do have. It will never be what I wish it could be, but it doesn't have to be utterly ruined either.
That's my sewing class revelation: Life--like curtains, skirts, shopping cart covers, and tote bags--does not have to be perfect to be good.