Perfection is the aftermath of disaster.

You open your eyes and there’s a blade of light on the ground. It zags across your bed sheet, slicing across the mounds that are your tangled legs under the sheets. There’s a crack in the curtains, just a small strip letting in that bit of sun.

And you think, that little ray is perfect. It’s a peek at the day, a hint of sunshine and a little bit of good in a dark room. And it’s coming from a flaw, from the fact that you bought curtains a few inches too small; they’ve never closed all the way. And it bothered you those nights, when the flashing street lights would illuminate your room in splashes of red/yellow/green.

But today you see the missing piece is so perfect in its way. And you hope that you can see that in yourself, that you can realize the crushingly long days and the moments where everything shuts down and you’re alone in the blank hallways of your mind aren’t bad flaws. The rawest moments — the ones where you struggle to breathe and everything seems unbearably bright and loud — are the ones that make you alive.

You went through life for a long time trying to make happiness. Head down, you faked your way through it all, smiling and laughing at the perfect times, cracking jokes, drinking drinks and fitting in. But the nights were real. You were alone and staring in the mirror and feeling raw. And then one day you stopped. You let it happen; you didn’t so much break as allow yourself to finally fall apart. And it was only then that you could begin to pick up the pieces, throw away the ones that didn’t work anymore, find a couple replacements, and put yourself back together.

It was a difficult process. You realized that it never ends — that you’re spending a little bit of each day with tape and glue, trying to make it work. But you’re real and you’re alive, and when the tears are as real as the smiles, you know you’re going to survive. Perfection is the aftermath of disaster; it’s laughing after the worst day and having a beer and getting in bed with a smile, knowing tomorrow will suck but you’ll be stronger for it.