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Give Perfection The Finger

I can't make gravy. And I don't care.

I'm not fond of sweet potato pie, either, and I don't make any at all. Way too much competition and way too many critics in black families for that, which is why I don't make gumbo, either.

Chitlins? As if.

But I do make some mean dinner rolls from scratch, if I do say so myself. In fact, there's not much in the way of baked goods with yeast that I can't do if I put my mind to it. If there's yeast involved, I'm your girl.

Wait. That didn't come out right. But you get my drift.

In other words, I'm not your quintessential Martha Stewart or Patti Labelle -- women who seemed to be blessed with a multitude of talents they perform with equal excellence. Some things I'm good at; others, not so much. And I no longer care. I've given perfection the finger, and so should you.

You see, I haven't lead the typical female life in America. I didn't settle down with some guy right after college and start having kids. There are many skills I would have been forced to acquire had my life taken that turn, like making gravy and soothing colicky babies. But it didn't. Instead, I traveled, worked hard, and dated for, oh, about twenty or so years. I have no regrets.

And I'm not alone. My best friend can kick butt at trial, get your company's diversity and inclusion program up and running from scratch, produce plays, and organize fundraisers that will take a non-profit's balance sheet from red to black. But cook? Not on your life. She's proud of it, and so am I. She is the daughter of a caterer. Why learn to cook when you've got professional grade food at the ready? She focused her energies on her talents and developed them well -- extremely well. Cooking just wasn't one of them. To this day, she refers to me as "one of them cookin' bitches" (because I actually attempt to cook) and says about holiday meals, "That's what caterers are for." I agree.

Look, life doesn't give everybody everything. There are things I can do that not a lot of people can do, like write an appellate brief that can make your dog of a case sound compelling, or run a winning political campaign. Conversely, there are things a lot of people can do that I can't, like make gravy. And at this stage in my life, especially as the holiday season approaches, I'm at peace with this. I've given perfection the finger, and so should you.

Mind you, your imperfections are manna from heaven for your haters. They will publicize and celebrate them. "Do you know the girl can't even make gravy?" I can already hear it. But I don't care. I'm giving perfection, and them, the finger. And so should you.

So if you burn the turkey this year, guess what? Flip that bird the bird. And keep steppin'. That's what caterers, or rather, Boston Market, is for. They make gravy, too.

If you're still beating yourself up and trying to pursue perfection, remember this: Beyonce can't cook. Clearly, she's given perfection the finger, too, and I adore her for it. She's put her life's energies into her true talents. That's something we should encourage all of our daughters to do, no matter where that leads them, because in the end, they'll be happy, even if they aren't perfect or can't make gravy.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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