"When I look back, I can see that I wasn’t depriving Connor of anything vital; he was loved and cared for. But at the time my expectations threatened to topple me over like an oncoming avalanche. It wasn’t enough that my son was well fed and sheltered. I wanted Utopia straight up, right out of the package. Until that happened, I wouldn’t feel safe from the gnawing worry that I would one day become my mother and repeat all her mistakes."
(Quote by Paula McLain, author of the The Paris Wife, from the article "A Lesson In Motherhood.")
When I read this quote, it immediately made me think of the main character in She Makes It Look Easy, Ariel. Ariel has this compulsive need to create the Utopia that Paula references. She thinks that by doing so, she will ward off the things that happened to her as a child. If she can make her surroundings perfect, she will give her boys the perfection she lacked, making up for her past by somehow ensuring their future. This gnawing need drives her to befriend and follow her seemingly perfect neighbor, Justine. "If I could just be like her," Ariel thinks, "I could have that elusive perfection. Then everything would be the way I want it and my past wouldn't hurt me any longer."
Of course things don't go that way and a lot of stuff happens to Ariel, and to Justine. There is a part of all of us that strives for perfection. It might manifest in different ways, but it's there. This story was my way of showing not only that perfection just isn't possible this side of heaven, but also how people can get hurt when we put that pursuit above relationships, and how to sink into the acceptance that it's never going to be perfect... and that's okay too. I hope you enjoy the story.