In the days since breaking up with Bria, we've had a number of - fights? Arguments? Discussions? I'm not sure which word is appropriate. During the latest, she said something to me that made me stop and think a lot; not just about our failed relationship but about how I view the world in general. She was accusing me of being too demanding, of expecting too much (honesty, apparently, being "too much"), and in the course of this she accused me of always trying to be perfect, suggesting that this was somehow a shortcoming because nobody can be perfect, so working towards that is unrealistic and a character flaw.
Later, I thought back to this remark, this accusation that it was wrong to aim for perfection. Something really bothered me about it, and after some thought, I figured it out. I did this, as I have the habit of doing, by thinking about my family (the real one, not the one that shares my blood.) I thought to myself, "That is a statement that none of them would ever have said." - and then proceeded to think about WHY none of them would ever have said something like that, because then I might have my answer.
The simple answer is that none of them would have said it because they are good
I'm not sure how all of you would define good; but to me, being good is basically defined by that struggle, the struggle for perfection - not in some superficial sense, but in the sense that, when it comes down to it, you try to always act and make decisions in a way that is in alignment with what you truly believe to be the right thing to do. Yes, nobody is perfect, but the fact that nobody is perfect should not stop someone from trying to be good. This attitude like, "Oh, well, I'm going to screw up anyway, and so does everyone else, so I might as well lie/cheat/be a hypocrite/etc." is, perhaps, what is wrong with most of the world - and it was just this attitude that seemed so out of place in the world.
The average person, I believe, lacks integrity. When nobody's watching, when there wouldn't be any repercussions, when nobody would find out, I doubt that the average person would choose to do what is right at the expense of what is pleasurable/convenient/easy.
When I look at the people I have chosen to get close to, all the people who I consider my closest friends, that is one thing - perhaps the only thing - that they uniformly have in common. Integrity, that strange blend of being honest, trying your hardest to have your actions conform to what you profess to believe (for in the end, isn't hypocrisy another form of lying?), and having enough self-respect to do the right thing when nobody is watching.
It's something that all those I really love have, but it is something that is in short supply in the world.
So when she accused me of having standards that were too high, of holding her to an unrealistic ideal, at first I said to her, no, I'm not! All I want, all I ever wanted and "demanded", was honesty. All I ever demanded was to be with someone I could trust - to not lie to me, to be the same person when I wasn't watching that they were when I was, to act in the way the ideals they paid lipservice to would suggest they would act.
But after further reflection, I realized that she was right. My standards were high. My Anjuls, I think, have ruined it for me - broken my bell curve, as Aldo said. (That's what I get for hanging out with anarchists and activists, eh?)
Because the average person doesn't
have much integrity - not in the true sense. When it comes down to it, most people would choose convenience over conscience. Most people wouldn't strive for perfection. Most people would accept that the world is in bad shape, people are in bad shape, so screw trying to be better or fix anything, let's just do what is easier.
And that's fine - for most people. But I don't let most people into my heart, my life, my bed. Integrity is
a lot to ask of someone, in that it is somewhere above what the average person has.
Sadly, though, it's one of those things that I'm discovering I can't just do without in a partner.