Who I used to be.

Her world revolved around perfection,

balanced on top of her surreptitious efforts

to avoid annihilation. Too many mouths to feed, too many

demands, too many dead-ends, too many what-if’s,

too many if-only’s—she was burdened by a meta-awareness

that reverberated through the sully caves

of her battered soul. She lied to herself to survive,

questioned every little detail of her life,

examined everything with fanatical care

and predicted, enacted every possible predicament

in her pretty little head for she was scared

by the things she thought she knew.


Should she fail,

the universe would shatter, a glass castle besieged

by an army of ghosts, and people’s faces

would darken, a darkness that she gravely feared,

would fall. There would be no redemption, only perdition.

Her very heart, held wholesome and beating

by this pitiful fragility, pumped wearily against

her mellow ribcage, in the shadows. To not care

meant to tread on thorny roads, to move mountains

with her bare hands, to drink a river dry with spoon.


Yet she heard it; she heard it constantly: step into

the light. Embrace the sun. She yearned for it. Yearned

for that light that would set her free—and one day she was saved—

saved her from the claws that were

etched in her flesh and she watched the chains around her

feet come undone and joy come pouring through the chasm of

darkness, a shower of golden energies, an ever-shining

rain that cleansed her anew, and made her see

the beauty, the perfection of imperfections and herself.

A world where nothing mattered and everything mattered and

she doesn’t give a damn because she is who she is. She

doesn’t care if she fails or if she makes a fool of herself,

because aren’t we all fools when we think we look like fools,

because aren’t we all human when we try to be above and beyond,

because aren’t we already the best of who we are

if we simply just be.

I was a perfectionist, and perhaps I still am. You have no idea how difficult life is when you’re a perfectionist. But recently, I’ve changed. Why should I care? Why do I care? There are too many things I can’t control in life and I don’t want to be just merely surviving, I want to be living. I’m not scared anymore. I’m free.



  1. Yilin · January 11, 2012

    Love the rhythm and imagery of the woman in this poem, Kim 🙂 So lyrical…

  2. Chet · January 5, 2012

    kimtsan: How can an artist as good as yourself possibly be perfect? From where would such great creativity emanate without imperfection as grist?

  3. Eric Alagan · December 25, 2011

    This resonates with a poem I wrote about Perfection. Cheers, Eric

  4. slpmartin · December 25, 2011

    It is good to have balance in one’s life…nothing can ever be ‘perfect’…have a joyous new years and a year filled with love.

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