You yearn to be the perfect package. Thick, shiny hair. Thin, muscular frame. Razor-sharp cheekbones. Calm. Confident. Smart. A person who makes everything look effortless; who rarely gets frustrated or flustered; who has productive days every day.

You yearn to be a person who’s skilled at small talk and public speaking. A person who fits into skinny jeans and wears pure white—without getting spit-up, chocolate, deodorant or sweat marks on it. A person who always declines dessert or devours it and doesn’t gain an ounce. A person whose kids don’t throw tantrums in the cookie aisle because they demand you purchase every package. A person who always sends a thank-you note.

You yearn to be a person who rises to any challenge who knows exactly what to do, what to say. A person with a spotless, clutter-free, organized home, who doesn’t have a box of ornaments stashed in the corner of the first room people see when they walk in. Two months after Christmas. A person who doesn’t have random, year-old receipts stashed inside an entryway table or papers piled on most surfaces in every room.

You yearn to be a person who goes with the flow instead of freaking out. A person who eats avocado toast for breakfast. A person who lives in an Instagram image.

You yearn to be someone you are not.

You are messy. Sometimes disheveled. Usually late. A person who feels like an impostor, who struggles with self-doubt. A person who makes bad jokes and occasionally offends others. A person who sometimes over-promises and under-delivers. A person who gets overwhelmed easily, has a hard time concentrating, and gets sucked into social media. A person with many soft, squishy parts. A person with blemished skin. A person who gets anxious at seemingly easy tasks and cries when receiving criticism. A person who’s sensitive to noisy environments and big crowds. A person who requires downtime. A lot of downtime. A person who loves reading about productivity advice but rarely follows it. A person who leaves dishes in the sink and laundry in the dryer. For days. A person who wastes time. A person who eats dinner, most evenings, in front of the TV. A person who works hard but sometimes fails. A person who hates avocados.

Good.

Show her to the world. Keep showing her. Because pretending, hiding behind a flawless exterior, is exhausting. Because you’d be showing others that it’s OK to be themselves, too. It’s OK to be human, to contain multitudes and contradictions, to quit conforming to a distorted culture. Because you want to know that the people who love you really love you for you. And because this is you. Simply. You.

You are not a perfect package. You never will be.

But you are a beautiful one.

Photo by Aron Van de Pol.