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   PROSE > The Critic in Us

I cannot abide by perfection. I do not know what significance this bears upon my psyche, but always, I look for the flaws. It is not to criticize for the sake of criticizing. (I've never liked that sort of activity: to do something for the sake of doing it. That seems rather plebian.) But to look for something other than what has been shown me.

What is apparent is generic. And generic connotes the mundane. And I don't know but I find that abhorrent, somehow.

The crow's feet make a man's face interesting. The swollen, red pimple on a girl's cheek tells of her first hormonal explosion. The bulging veins of the hands speak of hard labor. Myopic eyesight -- endless nights of reading. Ink spills on a pristine table cloth. A broken fingernail.

In the beginning, we are all clay, perfectly inanimate, until the Sculptor molded us and added flaws to our beauty. He cut us, chopped us, sliced us into little bits and pieces of flesh and bones, gave us life so we would bleed, laugh, sadden...die.

His blade left scars in us, on us. So we are all scarred, all of us, but in bearing such scars, we are made more infinitely beautiful. We are made whole.

So why strive for perfection? When our very flaws are what make us perfect? Our beauty is the criss-cross of scars in our bodies, the red marks of sin, our infinite capacity for cruelty and infinite capacity for kindness.

Our beauty is in our ugliness. Ugly, because we are all bold lines and loud colors; yet if we look beyond that, we realize we are fine threads of delicacy and elegant eloquence. We are the muted drama of sunrise and the impassioned death cry of sunset. We are rain clouds in April and the humid drafts of June.

We are, by nature, contrary. And that is why we cannot settle for mere perfection.

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