Updated: Feb 8
“A pursuit for perfection is the most leading cause of procrastination in artists.” ― Neeraj Agnihotri, Procrasdemon - The Artist's Guide to Liberation from Procrastination
I believe we can all agree that perfection is an unattainable pursuit. Yet we humans have spent our entire lives chasing it in one form or another. Being our own worst critic. Always pushing ourselves, even if it means swimming against the current. We set unrealistic goals for ourselves and often for others as well, aiming for "perfection" that's just not attainable. Since I was a little child, I've seen my mother putting a lot of emphasis on the term "Perfection." There was no pressure on me, but she would often express her wish for me to be "perfect" like her. But I too had certain expectations from myself. I too wanted to be "perfect" in ways that differed from what she deemed as "perfect". Now, that made me realize that concept of perfection is different for each person. And someone who is "perfect" according to their own conception of "perfection" may or may not be "perfect" in the eyes of another. And that is "perfectly" fine! Which validates the premise that "perfection" is indeed unattainable as is much more challenging than a regular human brain can comprehend. And so, I had this epiphany at a certain point in my life. I don't want to strive to be "perfect" anymore. To be something or anything I need not be perfect in it. If I enjoy doing it, I should do it. With time, I'd get better. And Beloved Lacuna was created with the same vision. We are here to promote "imperfection". Lacuna is a term used to define a blank space or a missing piece. It can also be used to refer to our search for "perfection", given somehow, someway, we are all obsessed with it. There's something we often forget, though - the beauty and grace that imperfection holds! Here's my story of how I found love in the 'Lacuna'. Here's how I learnt to embrace my mess!
We are not here to talk about toxic positivity or to promote it. We are here to simply normalise being imperfect. Who am I to do that and why do I even care, if you may ask... I am one of those very few lucky people who have found their true love and solace in the Lacuna. I am someone who instead of chasing perfection, is defining her own version of it. I am someone who is breaking away from the 'normal' rat race that everyone else seems to be running after, and I'm doing it with a smile.
If you’ve ever been to a place that made you feel like you were in a different world, a world where you had nothing, you were nothing, yet it was a total bliss, then you know the feeling of “lacuna”. Here, you can see lacuna as a synonym to imperfection in a way. Since, it is my narrative of it. Though, lacuna as a term may hold a different meaning to each person, just like perfection. It is a Latin word that means a “place of emptiness”, but it has also become a term to describe those special places in life that make us feel connected to something greater. For me, that place is my imagination. The place where I am in a complete bliss, where I am no one and nothing. It is a place where I go to for solace, inspiration and peace. It is a place that I come back to time and time again.
2. Exploring My Writing Journey
I was a five-year-old creative genius, dreaming up alternate endings to movies and concocting imaginary scenarios with my favorite celebs. I didn't even realize I'd been creating fanfiction since I was a child! By the time I was 11 or 12, I finally penned my very first story, it was a horror story. I was an extrovert back then and happened to be friends with my neighbor - who was several years older than me. She would always read through my stories and tell me I had a knack for writing. Even though the appreciation inspired me, and I had a vision and a vivid imagination, I knew my vocabulary wasn't quite up to the task. Fast forward a few years to my teenage self - I was now an aspiring storyteller, determined to make it as a filmmaker. I was willing to swim against the current and take a risk. But I still lacked direction. I did not know the whats and hows!
At the age of 17, I was given my first ever smartphone, and from that point, the tale of my "corruption" started. I who used to write short poems here and there in diaries, found online spaces for novice writers like me. Those days, I was an admirer of a certain drama series, and a popular writing platform was full of fanfictions about it. Seeing them, I thought, I could also write that. And with that, at 17, I found my fascination with fanfictions - both reading and writing. But, honestly, I was yet not enough serious about it. In addition, I felt distracted and dis-tracked. I lost touch with my dream of becoming a full-time storyteller since I had put too much focus on an irrelevant teenage drama called LIFE at the time. The ages between 17 to 20, we are a mess. Atleast, I was. Everything I ever wanted or needed was often right in front of me yet I was so focused on finding a deeper meaning at irrelevant places that I overlooked what actually mattered. It is indeed important to recognize the potential of what is in front of us which I unfortunately could not.
However, universe had certain plans for me in the bag. In 2020, the pandemic gave me the chance I needed to find solace in the world of my imagination again. When I had nothing else to do, I started to write stories - fanfictions, again! Though, this time around I was rather focused and disciplined within my pursuit. And suprisingly, the vocabulary I couldn't possibly improve in years, reading and writing fanfictions helped improve it in months. And it was then, when I realized that I could be more productive and skilled than I expected. From then on, I never looked back. Although I'm still not a perfect writer, I love writing. It is like a second nature to me. I found my passion and my everything in the world of imagination and words, and I'm proud to call myself a storyteller. It took me time, a very long time at that, but I learned that skills can be mastered. But what I also realized is that you can be whatever you want, you need not be the best or "perfect". It is the journey or rather the process that matters, not always the praises.
3. Recognizing the missing piece
The first time I ever experienced a writer's block was after reading a romance novel, when I started comparing my own work with the author's. My story lacked a coherent structure, and I peppered irrelevant adverbs and improper dialogue tags throughout. No matter how hard I tried to convince myself that I could improve and get better, a voice inside me urged, "GIVE UP! Writing is not for you." As a result, I did not write for months. I, just, could not! I have always been a perfectionist. I strive for excellence in all that I do, and I am hard on myself when I don’t meet my own expectations. This is by far the most prevalent challenge that many artists experience as well. Even those who have attained mastery in their particular talent or profession often dislike the stuff they create. There is hardly anyone who has not grappled with this, from Picasso to Taylor Swift. No, I haven't interviewed either. I just know. And I have come to realize that this drive for perfection can be a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it pushes one to be the best they can ever be. On the other hand, it can be a source of anxiety and depression.
Recognizing the missing piece or your imperfections is crucial to learning how to cope with them. And, yet again, each person's coping mechanism is unique. Let us not get into that. We all have experiences that mold us, and we all have moments when we feel incompetent or unworthy. We all make mistakes and have flaws that are unique to us. But, at the end of the day, what matters is that we acknowledge that our flaws are what make us who we are. That it is important to be compassionate with ourselves and forgive ourselves for our flaws. It took me time, but I realized I can’t expect myself to be perfect in everything I do, and that’s okay. Even if only one person read my work and told me I was doing well, it would make my day. Not because they praised me, but because they found me worthy enough of their praise. There's a very thin line between both if you'd look at it like that. With time, I realized I didn't have to be the same as the other author. I was liked for being me. And those who were meant to like me would like me for me. I don't have to adapt anybody else's story structure or writing style into my work. Regardless of genre, it was my unique writing style that set me apart. And it was nowhere near the others of my niche. And that's okay. I was confident this time, with practice, discipline and time, I would improve and I am improving as we speak.
4. Finding balance between Perfection and Enjoyment
Finding true happiness entails finding a balance between striving for perfection and enjoying life. And I realized that focusing on the process rather than the end product is one approach to create this balance. Enjoying the trip rather than focusing on the destination. Breaking down goals into achievable steps and setting fair expectations for yourself. While also celebrating tiny triumphs along the way. Another way to balance perfectionism with enjoyment is to remember that perfection is an unattainable pursuit. There is no such thing as the perfect state, and it is important to accept this fact.
When I know I can't be better than this right now, I'd rather take some time to chill and enjoy myself. I'd rather do something that brings me joy in the current moment than put too much strain on myself with self-sabotaging attitudes and behaviors. I'd rather take pauses and be calm if I don't instantly achieve my goals. Above all, I always keep in mind that I can only improve myself. The goal is to be better than I was the day before, not to be perfect.
5. Finding Love in the ‘Lacuna’
Finding love in the ‘Lacuna’ – or, as I like to think of it, my imperfections – was a process that have been both rewarding and fulfilling. It was nowhere about striving for perfection, but instead about learning to appreciate myself and the journey of my progress. It was about recognizing and accepting my strengths and weaknesses, and learning to be content with both. It took me long but I realized that growing and improving is an ongoing process. One can never be “perfectly” content within their abilities, because they’re constantly evolving. Though, the effort at finding joy in the process of improving onseself is what matters. Recognizing the progress, patting your own back for how far you have come and being optimistic about the progress that lies ahead.
Finding love in the ‘Lacuna’ is about learning to be comfortable with who you are and how far you’ve come, while still pushing yourself to become the best version of yourself. It’s about embracing your imperfections and loving yourself for who you are, while still striving to reach new heights.
So, let us pause for a moment to reflect on what we've learned and how far we've come. Let us applaud ourselves for the progress we've made and the person we've become. The way I have come to realize that my imperfections do not define me—in fact, they have been defining moments of my personal growth. I may be imperfect in things that I am passionate about, but they are the things that bring me the most joy. And, no matter how difficult it may be for me not to judge or be harsh on myself, I will allow myself to be myself. I will pursue my passions because I enjoy the process. I am not doing it for the praises. I know I will get better along the way. We all do! Let us understand that sometimes our best magic is found in those moments of uncertainty, where the voices inside our head make us feel that we are not made for this! But if not me, then who?
So, let us find joy in the ‘Lacuna’, and love ourselves through it.
Let us not focus on the end goal, but savor the journey of self-discovery. Let us make the effort to practice self-care, take time to reflect on our accomplishments, and appreciate the little successes along the way. It is important to recognize that the ‘lacuna’ isn’t something to be ashamed of, but something to be celebrated. Our imperfections make us who we are, and it’s important to remember that we can find love even within the ‘Lacuna’.