The Power of Now

Alison - Potomac, Maryland
Entered on November 24, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

This I Believe: In the Power of Now

This is the story of an undercover perfectionist. I say undercover because by the way my room usually looks, my disheveled hair or how I wear my sweatpants so low, an outsider looking in would never know. But my whole life, I have been obsessed with the ideal. Having the ideal feelings, the ideal thoughts and experiences — I ruthlessly chip away at the flaws I find in myself, and the reality that is the world.

The truth of the matter is, though, I’m covered in spots. Dark, misshapen freckles are strewn across my skin and after 21 years of steadfast analysis, I could point to each one with my eyes closed.

Oh, the things I wish. I wish I could finally quiet my mind. I wish I could learn the right times to speak. I wish I could relinquish my heart of my ego. But the more I try to tan my fair Irish skin so that the blemishes don’t show, the bigger they become.

What has taken me a long time to understand is that these ideals I long so desperately for are something to aspire toward. They are here to inspire me, not to be the expectations by which I measure the world.

This life is filled with darkness and it is filled with light. In this world, there is ugliness but there is also beauty. It’s not good or bad. It just is, and I have to face it.

But I do have a choice. I can choose to be positive. And when I look back at all the failures, the rejections, the pain, they’ve been the fire that keeps me burning. They’re the fuel for my growth.

In those brief instances when I can truly live in the moment, whether it is feeling the fear of uncertainty or the joy that eventually follows sorrow, it becomes undeniably clear to me that true freedom is attainable. My regret and my impatience disappears, as I realize that the now is the only eternity I will ever be able to hold.

When Michelangelo said, “Dear Lord, please grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish,” I don’t know if he knew what he was in for. My dreams — of being a writer, of finding a way to give something back to the wonder of this world — Maybe I’ll get there. Maybe I won’t. I know I have enough will to never give up. But sometimes, perhaps, the only thing you can do to be the best person you can be is to just let go — now — so you can feel the love.

Now. It’s time to throw away the perfect mask and open my eyes to the bigger picture. It’s time to celebrate who I am and how far I’ve come, because I’m pretty sure those spots were beauty marks all along.