The anatomy of society’s “perfect girl” is quite simple. She’s unbelievably gaunt, with sunken eyes and hollow cheekbones. Her bones jut through her body in impossible contortions, and her clothes billow out from her skeletal figure. She subsists on cigarettes and cocaine alone, even as her body screams for nourishment. And she verges on six feet tall, but she’s virtually nonexistent, pacing the runways as though she’s little more than a phantom.
She graces our magazine covers and dominates our Instagram feeds. She’s the woman we never fail to idolize, the inspiration behind our crash diets and exercise compulsions. But the true “perfect girls” aren’t the runway models and Instagram influencers.
The reality is, the most perfect women in our world are fundamentally imperfect.
The true “perfect girls” have been told that their graceful curves are too much, that they cannot exist without shrinking themselves to fit an impossible mold. They’ve been ridiculed for their perfectly sun-kissed cheeks and golden-hued skin. They’re ashamed of the way the wind tousles their hair, creating a gorgeous array of free-flowing curls. They’ve tormented themselves over their blemishes and scars, the stunning marks of new lives created and fierce battles won. And yet, they’ve faced the world beaming, in awe of its simple beauty and joy.
The true “perfect girls” have witnessed unspeakable trauma and survived unbearable pain.
They’ve come from broken homes, constantly searching for the ones who will make their hearts whole. They’ve arisen from grave poverty, working tirelessly to maintain financial stability. They carry the stinging scars of abuse and neglect, waking from painful memories, dreaming of painless love, living every moment nonetheless.
The true “perfect girls” transcend their exhausted bodies and weary minds, pushing forward even when life seems insurmountable. They linger in bed a little too long as the weight of the morning sinks into their bones and clouds their minds. They feel their hearts racing in their chests as they wonder if they will ever find a love that stays. And they cry just as quickly as they smile, releasing unmitigated passion for all they’ve lost. They stutter, they wobble, they stumble, they collapse, but they never fail to rise above the waves that threaten to sink them.
The true “perfect” girls approach the world with boundless ambition, even as they feel directionless.
These women are relentlessly creative, transforming words into stories and colors into art. They are brilliant innovators, developing, fixing, improving, carrying this world into the future. They are fearless advocates, seeking truth, justice, and healing for all. The true “perfect girls” are visionaries, women with heads filled with dreams and hearts of gold who boldly lead others in pursuit of their dreams. They are wanderers, uncertain where to turn next, but determined to live out their wildest fantasies as they follow their hearts to every corner of the globe.
The true “perfect girls” aren’t the runway models, the impeccably curated women starved of happiness and purpose. They are you and me, the women with scars and dreams aplenty, the women who know that true perfection lies in imperfection.
Previously published on Thought Catalog.