In the mud

November 20, 2020
Hèctor Verdú Martí

Last Monday I went for a run. I like to get lost in the woods. It makes me feel good, it helps me frame my concerns and be more productive. It had rained all weekend long and the trails were muddy. Honouring my mum and grandma, who instructed me to be clean and neat, when I go running in these conditions, I first try to avoid puddles and mud, but after a while it becomes annoying, because I can’t let myself go and I have to be controlling and restrained all the time. For what? To look perfect, maybe? Do I care about whatever ma and grandma are going to say if I don't come home clean and decent? Or am I trying to fulfil others perceived expectations? I don't know. What is decent, after all? Isn't running about sweating? And then, at some point, I can’t help but putting my foot in the mud; there is no other way. And from that moment on, already dirty, stepping on another puddle doesn’t matter anymore. And then I am finally free, I am myself, although I already was myself before, when I restrained. But now I no longer have to worry about controlling and I can devote all the efforts until then I invested in doing well and being perfect to being myself and having fun. I have the right to walk instead of running because at some point the conditions force me to stop and walk. The environment forces me to adapt and I humbly give in and enjoy. Foot in the mud, my trainers soaked in the stream, and keep running uphill.

There's something else about getting dirty. When I try to look perfect, I am actually acknowledging my imperfection, although I deny it. Trying to appear is in the world of fiction, it is like acting in a theatre; the truth is that I think I am imperfect, and I want to hide it. What a cumbersome job! It's tiresome. But when trying to appear is no longer possible and mud goes up beyond my knees, I also embrace my imperfection, my dirt, what I would normally try to hide. And I am finally free, because that is me and I don't have to worry about others. After all, they already know what I am. People judge me beyond what I try to appear. In fact, they rather judge me for what I try to look than for who I am.

When I try to look perfect, I am actually acknowledging my imperfection, although I deny it

So today I'm going to work ready to get my hands dirty, play all my cards for that project nobody seems to bet on, caring for that team that until now I thought was full of incompetent —Maybe I, the first—, willing that nothing is as I think and that, despite everything, it will be OK. I am going to expose my truth and I am going to let others shape it with theirs, without attachment, without aspiring for mine to be more important and better. Because if I get attached to it, I suffer and block. I become an obstacle. Only when I am not attached to my truth, am I getting dirty, because I must accept that my truth is not perfect and that it may even be false.

By the way, what is perfection after all? An ideal. Therefore, fiction. And also, the origin of a thousand frustrations and bitterness.