6 Jun

I’ve been in a long distance relationship for over 4 years. I often mention the frequent travel, texting in lieu of quality time, and that we see each other in a year the equivalent amount that a normal couple spends together in 2 months.

But what I’ve only slowly come to realize is that I’m split in two. The long distance relationship didn’t cause it but is a reflection of it.

There’s a fantastic book written for a particular slice of young women, “Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters” by Courtney E. Martin. She writes, “‘Effortless perfection’ has become the unattainable and anxiety-producing ideal for women…We must not only be perfect – as in accomplished, beautiful, brilliant, witty – but also appear as if we achieve all this perfection through an easygoing, fun-loving approach…Beneath the facade is a daughter – starving for attention and recognition, starving to justify her own existence. She is the one who doubts…gets scared, lonely…We are tired of trying so hard all the time…We want love, acceptance, happy endings.”

For me, UC Berkeley and Oakland is where I came to achieve and accomplish, where I feel the pressure to be and do everything, where I am constantly reminded of more I should be. Where every charming, funky apartment houses a stunning, charismatic, passionate activist-artist who gardens and cooks, has a masters degree, is a yoga teacher and social entrepreneur, knows social movement history, and has a dream that will change the world.

Sometimes this is inspiring. And sometimes it is tiring.

Martin writes, “We long for an unwavering sureness about our own worth in a world that constantly puts it into question.” I understand that seeking proof of my worth will get me nowhere, but it can be difficult to remember for someone who has toed the line of approval her entire life.

Orange County for me represents my family, my partner, and longtime girl friends. It’s where my “starving daughter” is nourished. Where people love me just because I’m me, not for anything I’ve done. Where my partner always thinks I’m beautiful. Where family ties and shared history matter more than which organization I’m a part of.

I know there’s a way to bring these two halves together, where I’m neither comparing myself to others nor seeking refuge in what’s comfortable. So, I’m going to go home, rest, and hopefully find myself again. Whole.


3 Responses to “Wholeness”

  1. vietnamita1 June 12, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

    i can relate to comparing myself to others here and finding myself coming up short. as we both embark on new journeys, i hope we can share what we learn along the way…let us let go of perfectionism and embrace the imperfect meandering pathway that is our journey. i love you just as you are, p.

    • cil1977 June 13, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

      thank you for this. i really needed it. so wise and beautiful, you are. (hug)


  1. Holding Two Spaces « oakland 2 oc - March 5, 2012

    […] already written about the gap I feel between my “Oakland” self and my “OC” self, and my struggles to reconcile them with each […]

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