Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Share Your Story: Diane of A Spot of Whimsy

This is a guest post for the "Share Your Story" series (learn more about it here!).

I'm excited to introduce you all to Diane of a spot of whimsy. We met during college through the Dance Company of Notre Dame and have stayed in touch post-graduation via our blogs... and when our paths occasionally cross here in Chicago :)


Hello Readers of Inspiration and Rough Drafts!  I am particularly honored that Melissa asked me to be a part of this series because I am not a writeror at least not in the traditional sense (so go easy on me ;)).  I am a lawyer by day, which means I am writing all the time (emails, letters, briefs, memos), but rarely in a way that allows for much creativity.  That was really the impetus for the creation of my blog, a spot of whimsy, a lifestyle blog with a dash of whimsy.

Rather than share with you all today one particular anecdote, I’d like to discuss an ongoing one, inspired by this mantra:

I interpret this in two ways: (1) that we allow for imperfection in ourselves, and accept and forgive ourselves for our flaws with grace and understanding; and (2) that we allow for imperfection in others, and accept and forgive them for their flaws with grace and understanding.  

Before I get any further (and before you really start wondering what the heck these images have to do with anything), I like to pair my more thoughtful posts with dreamy images that compliment my words.  A bit of mood-setting, if you will.  Now, back to it.

Let me take you way back, in fact, to 5th Grade, where the boy I had a massive crush on told my friend that he didn’t like me because I was “too perfect.”  This was not, in fact, a back-handed compliment—that I knew for sure—but what I didn’t understand was why he was dismissing me for what I thought were positive attributes: good student, did what I was told, on student council, lots of after-school activities, the normal good little girl traits.  Turns out this particular boy turned into not so great of a man, so I made my peace with him more than a decade ago, but the “too perfect” label came back to haunt me many years later, in my early 20s.  In the midst of an argument with my then-boyfriend, he told me that my expectations for others (namely, himself) were too high, that I couldn’t expect him to live up to the same lofty goals I set for myself, that I was…too perfect.  In that moment, of course I didn’t take this very well.  I was sensitive to that word.  I still couldn’t wholly rectify the negative and positive of it, and I certainly couldn’t get behind the “you just have to lower your expectations of what I can give you” argument (if you hadn’t guessed, that relationship was not long for this world by the time of this exchange, but that's not relevant here!).  

After cooling down, I started to see what he was kinda-sorta-maybe-getting-at (even if I was still hurt by the impetus for the argument, which is best left in the past), which is essentially the quote above: hold yourself (and others) to a standard of grace, not perfection.

If only I’d been able to put it in such eloquent words.    

You will disappoint yourself; it is inevitable.  People will disappoint you; this is also inevitable.

I know I’m far from perfect; the trap comes when I subconsciously make that the expectation.  When I set “perfection” as the goal for myself and my relationships with others, I am setting us all up for failure.  Instead, if I learn to accept those disappointments with grace, if I am quick to forgive instead of to anger, life will not only be more realistic, but more satisfying.  Believe me, I am far from perfect (oh, the irony!) in embracing this mantra, but the point is to try, and try hard.

This, of course, does not mean that we allow others to walk all over us, wandering around just forgiving and accepting everything with grace to the point of absurdity.  There are still standards and expectations, but the point is to account for the fact that perfection is unattainable, and to stop being so quick to blame and frustration, instead of to grace.  

Diane wishes she lived in a Nora Ephron movie (and sometimes pretends she does), hates talking on the phone (to the dismay of her mother), is happiest on a boat in the middle of a lake, watches too much tv (in her defense, it’s usually good tv, she’s not a reality girl), sneaks in pleasure reading on the bus to and from work, and is in love with a boy she calls C.  Diane lives in Chicago and hails from Pure Michigan.  Come say hello over on her blog a spot of whimsy, say hi (less characters) on twitter @aspotofwhimsy, view photographic evidence of her day-to-day life on instagram user: @aspotofwhimsy, and what’s inspiring her lately on pinterest @aspotofwhimsy.  Thanks for reading her thoughts here today, and Diane thanks Melissa for having her.

*image 1,2,3,4,5,6,7


  1. i LOVE this! the series and this post!! this is also a mantra i am working hard toward internalizing. and i love that you acknowledged it is both about showing grace personally and toward others. xoxo

  2. diane...you have always been awfully close to perfection! love ya!!

  3. I agree with diane and chad ! :)


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