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Wednesday, March 2, 2011


People close to me think I’m a perfectionist. I used to think that too, but what I’ve realized is that I’m just afraid of not living up to the expectations of others. It’s not an intrinsically driven thing in me that wants things to be “perfect” or “just so”. It’s that I don’t want to disappoint anyone. Once you do something well once, then people come to expect that from you again. You’ve set the bar, so how do you then dip below it?

My issue is I just can’t let people down, I must rise to the expectations of others…so I am driven to get good grades, to succeed, to have a nice house, to look put together and stay trim, to be good at my career, to be a good mom, to be financially savvy, to be a good listener, blah, blah, blah. All in an effort to make those who matter to me proud. I want to achieve so that I may appear “good enough” in the eyes of others…this probably definitely goes back to my own insecurities and issues with self-worth. I don’t want to be a failure. Andie’s opinion was of course the most important one. I wanted him to be proud of me on every level. Now that he’s gone I find myself not caring so much. Not worrying as much about whether or not I’m measuring up to the invisible bar I’ve set for myself because the judge is no longer around to give me a pass or fail. I’m beginning to be okay with things just being “good enough”.

Andie thought I was perfect…he told me so a thousand times. In fact there was rarely a day that passed in which he did not give me some loving compliment that built me up and sustained me; that reassured me that I was actually “good enough”. Yep, the majority of the time we were one of those couples that would make you gag if you knew how in love we were. We hid it pretty well in public, but in the privacy of our own home we were sickeningly in love and into each other.

He was always telling me I was beautiful, sexy, smart, a great wife, a great mom, I made a good dinner that night, he appreciated me and all the things I took care of around the house, I was the love of his life, I made him laugh, I was his whole world, I was awesome cause I got his favorite snack at the store, I was cool cause I never told him he couldn’t go hunting or fishing, or any number of other things he loved about me. I was just perfect.

I used to tell him that I hated when he told me I was perfect because it’s not true and it set me up for failure; as there is no way I could ever live up to being perfect and I didn’t want him to put me on that kind of pedestal. Being perfect is simply unrealistic and too much pressure. And he would always say, “Well, you’re perfect to me.” I remember arguing with him one day about not being perfect and I asked him if there was anything about me that irritated him. Nope, not a thing. There has to be at least one thing I do that you don’t like, or wish I would change, or that you don’t think is perfect. He thought for a moment and came up with 2 things.

1. I can’t sing. (A very valid and indisputable accusation)
2. I never replaced the empty toilet paper roll; I just stacked a new roll on top of the empty roll.

Honestly, the only thing he ever complained about in our entire marriage is that I never put a new roll of toilet paper back on the holder…and he also didn’t like the way I loaded the dishwasher. But those are honestly the only two things I remember him ever even commenting about. (I’m sure there were more things he didn’t like, he was just too sweet to tell me). I think I subconsciously wouldn’t put the toilet paper back on the roll just so that there would be something “imperfect” about me. To prove that he would love me anyway, even if there were imperfections.

Ironically, now I find myself replacing the empty toilet paper roll. Yes, ridiculously I do it now that he’s gone. As if that will honor him in some absurd way. Oh, wouldn’t he be so proud to be honored with a fresh roll of toilet paper on the holder!

And aren’t I just the perfect little wife now…(cue eye rolling)


  1. I just love your honesty... Even to those who know you best, it's still a surprise to hear you say that you have insecurities. It's refreshing, though, because it's a reminder that we all have them (even other people that we think don't, or at least shouldn't). I hope that your honesty, your bravery, your ability (and willingness) to be so introspective, and so many other things that you continue to share with us, inspire people to cultivate these qualities in their own lives. I'm so very proud of you on a continual basis.

  2. Brooke,

    I wish I had time to write the novel I want to right now, however I'm at work and decided to take a quick break so I better make this Part 1 :)

    I have only read 'The Story' section of your blog and the first half of your latest entry, and I'm fighting back tears. Although our storeis aren't exactly alike we have so many similarities. I'll give you a brief overview: I am a 27 year old single girl from Knoxville, TN. I went to the University of Tennessee and now work in marketing for Case Pocket Knives. Here is where the similariteis start... At 15 my 40 year old mother died completely unexpectedly, and like Andie she was not overweight, exercised most days, and ate seemingly healthy. I will be honest, I don't know the exact name of what her condition was, but it was almost the exact same thing that took Andie from you. When she passed she left my father and I, along with my two year old brother and my six year old brother. (By the way, she too had high risk pregnancies.) After she passed away my drive for perfection went out the window. I had never made less than a perfect A, and immediateley after I could have cared less. Fast forward to my Sophomore year of college, my father passed away just a week after Christmas. I decided to move home for one semester to care for the boys and help to transition them to my dad's brother's home (which is where they would be moving permanently). It was one of those period's of life that you look back and think how did I get up every morning? Fast forward one more time to October 2010. I found out my dad's brother (the same one caring for my younger brother's) had been stealing the money left for us by our parents. This changed our entire world in an instant! Today the boys life with me. We are all just trying to figure "things" out, what these things are I'm not too sure :)

    Regardless I am happy to have found this blog as I can already tell it will be such a mood booster on my sad days. And I don't think I mentioned this before, you are an amazing woman!