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Imperfection is perfection

Shannon McDowell | Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My name is Shannon McDowell, and I have a secret. I’m obsessed. I use two different facial cleansers, two different shampoos, two different lotions, two different types of toothpaste and two towels when I shower. I pace when I talk on the phone. If I misplace a sock I will search for hours until I’ve found it. I’ve never lost a sock. I’m a perfectionist. I’d rather arrive 40 minutes early than one minute late. I tear myself apart in front of the mirror. I worry. I double-check that the door is locked. I fixate myself on the tiny details most people never see. I’m my own worst enemy.

As I nervously write this, I’m terrified that whoever decides to read it will automatically assume I’m weird, unstable, extreme or just senseless. The truth is that I’m not, and I’m so much more than my obsessions.

It’s been a long journey, but I’m finally learning to accept that I don’t need be perfect to be loved. I mess up sometimes. I don’t always feel happy. I’ve missed lines and messed up steps. My skin breaks out. I’ve forgotten birthdays. My shoes get holes and my tights get runs. I get sick of the daily routine. I’m definitely not a morning person. I’m human, and I can now appreciate the fact that it’s okay to laugh at myself.

It takes a lot of courage to ask for help when something isn’t right, but please know that it’s okay to speak up. I’m writing this because I know there are many others who struggle with things like anxiety, food and depression. Please don’t be ashamed, and remember that you are not alone. Talk about it with people you trust, and consider taking advantage of the resources available at the University Counseling Center. If your friends are suffering, support them. We need to stand together as a community and as a family. You are loved, and people really do care. Please don’t ever forget that.

Shannon McDowell


Pasquerilla East Hall

April 4