LEARNING TO LOVE TYPOS

My parents divorced when I was young and my sister and I spent our summers and school vacations in West Virginia with my dad. In the evenings we played tennis and then came home and played Boggle, but this was no ordinary game of Boggle. My dad credits our high SAT verbal scores to years of playing boggle. We were allowed to use words we couldn’t define with one caveat- we had to look them up in the big blue Webster dictionary. My dad would take notes and quiz us at the next evening’s Boggle game.

Starting at age 8, as part of the custody agreement, my sister and I had to write weekly letters to my dad and enclose school assignments from each class. We would send our graded papers and he would send them back, with comments. More than once, an A+ paper from a teacher returned from dad with a lot of red ink and less than stellar reviews.

My dad was a journalist at the Charleston Gazette for 25 years and I credit him with my writing skills, love of language, and overly zealous proofreading tendencies.

I recently read Brene Brown's Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection and was struck by her writing on perfectionism. She defines perfectionism as:

“a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: “If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.”

While I identified as having perfectionist tendencies, I never identified perfectionism as so debilitating. I have committed to stepping away from perfectionism and I am slowly embracing the idea of being imperfect and whole. So as I hit publish with trepidation, exposing my imperfect self in a very public way, I am reminding myself there are worse things than typos. So if you find them here, I ask for your forgiveness and more importantly, I promise to forgive myself.

Madeline Schwarz