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  • Writer's picturejen hughes

honoring our own beauty

I have put off writing a "first" blog post because nothing so far has seemed perfect enough. oooooo.... "perfect + enough". Man, those two words separately carry so much weight in my mind, let alone together! Perfect. Enough. What does that even mean? Who sets that standard? Who defines that meaning? And why do we pressure ourselves, to be held accountable to those wavering, unrealistic, fictional terms?

I've lost precious time, and most likely opportunities, to the mindset of perfection + enoughness. I am thankful to say, I am fighting that battle and winning most days. And I am human enough to say that some days, perfection and comparison get the best of me. It's funny, but it's rarely an external force that drives my perfection. I admittedly get a sting of jealousy when I see an entrepreneur super-thriving, or when someone else's home looks perfectly "farmhouse-minimalist". {side note, is that even a style?? maybe I made it up. lol.} Nevertheless, my battle with perfection and feeling like I am "enough" in certain situations lies {LIES} solely within my own head.

And they say we are our own worst-critic. In art, I think that especially rings true. Let alone, add in the fact that I resonate with being an Enneagram One {another side note: if you don't know what the Enneagram is, then do yourself a favor and learn about it, then shoot me a message so we can chat/bond over it!}. An Enneagram One: ever the perfectionist, the reformer, the "let's fix the world and do it right!" mentality. It's a beautiful and exhausting way to live. Being one that loves to "fix things"has enabled me to challenge my way of thinking and has no doubt given me more perspective and empathy towards others. It's really a beautiful tool for all of humanity. But, perhaps I digress. ;)

So, onto the painting! This little bee + butterfly is the all more inspiration in this non-perfection journey for me. When I sat down to paint last night, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I was in quite a mood of feeling "not enough" in a few areas and just needed to pour some wine, put on a podcast and paint. And suprisingly, this is what came out. Two beauties. Both winged-creatures. Both the same color-pallet. Both necessary for pollination. Yet, often times the butterfly is given more of a "lovely" admiration, while the bee gets swatted away for being a bother. When I started the process, I wasn't thinking of comparing the two. Just felt like painting half of each for some reason. But the more I painted, the more I wondered which one holds more beauty than the other?

My daughter likes the butterfly. I myself, like the bee. Maybe that's because I empathize with the hard work the bees put into their lives. They may not be as colorful, but they are necessary, helpful and add value. Or maybe it's that my heart goes out to the bee population dwindling due to all the pesticides we humans use. Either way, the bee wins in my book.

But it's not because of comparison. No. In fact, I think there truly cannot be a comparison between the two at all. They are both such lovely creatures of God, put here to serve a purpose and spread joy/beauty in the process. It begs the question, aren't we made for that same purpose, too? Not to be compared to our neighbor or sister or friend. Not to hold ourselves accountable to social media standards. It can be said a thousand ways, but we each get to run our own race. We each get to love and be loved, in different ways. We each get to choose kindness, even when times are hard. Maybe especially when times are hard. And not just kindness towards others, but kindness towards ourselves.

I think that in many ways, we all struggle with perfection and 'enough-ness' in one way or another. I hope we each grow more as a human population of grace and kindness, but that may be my Enneagram One talking. I know nothing's perfect and aim to keep challenging myself to celebrate grace + kindness over perfection and comparison. I leave you today with a hope for humanity, hope for my fellow-sisters:

"May we learn to admire someone else's beauty without faulting our own."

Cheers + love,


ps: here's a real-time video of part of the butterfly painting. It's a slow process, each stroke and layer. One that builds over time, just like us. :)

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