Tag Archive for: predators

Demanding Perfection

Demanding Perfection
By Cathy Perkins

Our old house was on a dead-end street, a nice long quiet
road with trees and kids and people who mostly observed the speed limit. For
the longest time, when I drove in and out of our neighborhood, I’d see a
teenaged boy practicing skateboard tricks—or rather the same trick—over and
He’d do the set-up, launch—and fail miserably.
Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/Tumisu-148124/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=3385370">Tumisu</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=3385370">Pixabay</a>

But he didn’t give up and eventually I saw him nail the
move. It didn’t happen overnight. It was a gradual process. Instead of succeeding
once in a hundred times, it would be one in ten, and then finally, most of the time, he’d jump and spin and pick up his board. Smile. 
And practice it again.
After a while, he’d start on a new skill, a new trick. And
fail miserably.
I can’t count the number of times I thought, a girl would
never do that.
Not the practicing and the striving, but the public failure.
Repeated failure. Where everyone could see them mess up and sprawl all over the
pavement or the lawn and look like a dork.
I hadn’t thought about that kid in years, but a recent post
brought it crashing back.
Basically, Hugo talked about the tragic suicide of a teen,
Amanda Todd, following severe harassment after Todd’s decision to ‘sext’ a man
who, it turns out, may have been a predator. Allegedly, this man tried to
blackmail her and released the pictures to her classmates and life took a
horrible turn for Ms. Todd. More horribly, she didn’t see a way out.
Unfortunately, Todd’s story has been hijacked and trotted
out as a warning to girls about the danger of stepping ‘out of line’ with
anything sexual, another ridiculous blame the victim measure. While the article initially
focused on sexuality, what is most concerning to me is the way the ‘messing up
your life’ message demands perfection from young—and not so young—women, while
at the same time forbidding them to experiment or risk failure. As I told
Nicole in our Facebook exchange, this is the broader message for me:
[Resilience and the ability to thrive] means
focusing on giving them what we’ve given their brothers for decades: the chance
to see failure –- and even humiliation -– as an opportunity rather than as a
life-destroying disaster.  
I kept thinking about the implications of this message, this
demand for instant perfection, on creativity. Whatever the media—visual through
paint, photography, glass, fiber; performance in dance or theater; or the
written word—taking a chance, risking failure if you will, is inherent in
creative works. As much as we try to say, “writing is a business” or “once we
finish, it’s a product,” the end result of our creative endeavor is still a
piece of our soul.
And we offer it up to the world to critique.
If we aren’t “allowed” to take risks, to risk failure, if we
have to be “perfect” before we attempt…anything, what does that say about us as
a society? If we all have to fall in line and not push creative boundaries,
there won’t be urban fantasies or paranormal entities or mysteries that make us
think, not just about who did the crime, but what led those characters to make
those decisions or any of the other layers we authors craft into our stories to
make us think outside the expected. Outside the safe.
And failure to take the creative risk is a loss for all of
I don’t want to live in a white bread world, where
everything is the same. Where people are afraid to take risks. Are afraid to
challenge their deepest fears and embrace their highest dreams.
Instead I applaud everyone who steps outside their comfort
zone and offers a piece of their vision. A piece of their heart.


PS – I have a Book releasing in June, Calling for the Money. The original inspiration for it was a different news article about the suicide of a lonely veteran caught in a sexting scheme. The internet is a useful tool, but the anonymous predators deserve a special place in hell. 
An award-winning author of financial mysteries, Cathy Perkins writes twisting dark suspense and light amateur sleuth stories.  When not writing, she battles with the beavers over the pond height or heads out on another travel adventure. She lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.  Visit her at http://cperkinswrites.com or on Facebook 

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She’s hard at work on sequel to The Body in the Beaver Pond, which was recently presented with the Claymore Award.