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  • Writer's pictureSIEW

The Bowl With A Crack

I was drying and putting away the plates and bowls used at dinner when I saw a big crack in the glass bowl. A long crack right across the bottom of the bowl, made obvious as the bowl is transparent.

My first instinct was to throw it away. The bowl is cracked, my "other me" in the brain chattered, it is ugly, dangerous (what if I cut my fingers when washing it?) and useless (it's going to leak).

As I gingerly run my finger lightly over the crack to test, I realise that there are 2 layers of glass and the crack is sandwiched in between the layers. There is thus really no danger of it leaking or fingers being cut by the cracked edges of the glass. The crack is "protected" within the layers.

It dawns on me that I have let in my "Perfect-Conscious me". Again. Something that I am sure (I would like to believe) I was not born with but silently tattooed on me by society's culture and norms and expectations.

For a long time, I thought that one needs to be perfect to be seen as good, as worthy, as successful.

Perfect looks.

Perfect character.

Perfect grades.

Perfect house.

Perfect car.

Perfect career.

Perfect children.

And I tried to pursue it. That image of perfectness. As if being perfect is the Academy Award standard of how one should be leading life.

Needless to say, chasing perfection can never be perfect. Because the fact is, unfortunately, no one is perfect. The quest to chase after perfection can only end in frustration, fear and fatigue. It leads me to want to hide the imperfectness -- that crack in the bowl, by throwing it in the bin so that no guest to my house will ever see a cracked bowl and judge me. It stops me from writing about a cracked bowl in case people realise how bad my writing skills are and judge me. It keeps me from taking a stand for fear that people will disagree with me and judge me.

This thought that I need to be perfect -- it keeps me from showing up as the real me.

But what is Perfect? No one has ever agreed on one universal definition. The bowl that is cracked is no longer perfect based on its looks. The long line of crack stays and is an eye sore if we choose to focus on it. Yet the bowl is perfect in size as a salad bowl or a single-serving portion of noodle soup. With the ingredients in it, the crack cannot be seen nor felt. It is just there, part of the bowl.

So I ask myself: what do I choose -- the crack or the use? I choose to accept that I have a bowl that is cracked yet useable.

I gently put the bowl back into my crockery cupboard.

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