In my previous column, I said effortless perfection doesn’t exist; this time, I'm saying it does. Despite the seeming contradiction, I think this position is entirely consistent. Last column, I sought to undo the linguistic and social nightmare the term is. I called it a dragon that the entire campus has collectively imagined up and is constantly jabbing lances into, which rather ironically perpetuates it because to give credence to illusion, whether by support or denial, is to keep illusion alive. Its tyranny stems from its unchecked, vague usage that turns into something of an umbrella term for anything ranging from truly effortless perfection to unseen difficulties resulting in an inflated and uncritiqued appearance of goodness; essentially, in it’s current usage, it’s too applicable to take it seriously as defining itself by the rarity “effortless” and “perfection” together imply. But that’s not the effortless perfection I’m talking about this week.

The term as I’m referring to it this week is actually the perception of effortless perfection, as marred by inaccuracy as it is. And it’s the realest thing in the world when you feel it, as so many students do on a daily basis. Seems somewhat hypocritical, doesn’t it, to make an argument with the very thing I derided last column. However, what got me last time was that the perceptions of each person, as accepted by others (who are also the perpetuators of the term), are allowed to stray off too far, to an unacceptable measure of perfection, to insincerity.

The utility in satirizing the use of the term effortless perfection — as I did last column — comes of the undoing of its effect when some conscious effort is applied to thinking about it. Realize that the track star is only as fast as he is after years of training or that the girl who seemingly rolls out of bed each morning ready-to-go, beautiful, might’ve been on a diet for months, and any idea of any appearance of effortlessness that plagues you at the moment is undone. Understand that the stunning singing of the girl down your hall is still improving dramatically and that the student who plays the genius could still be debated out of the classroom by your teacher, and their perfection evaporates. If you imagine this when the feeling of effortless perfection comes on in your own visual field, or a friend claims they saw it themselves, then you could save yourself a lot of hurt.

But there are moments, it’s hard to deny, when it’s not enough to trust that some expert could critique what seems so momentarily perfect to imperfection. No amount of front-brain thinking will help. You wonder what you’re doing at a school like this in the presence of what comparatively feel like gods and goddesses. You feel tiny.

After the moment has passed and all that’s left is the bitter aftertaste and self-conscious memory of some envy and inadequacy, all too often at this school, the reaction will be to laugh effortless perfection out of existence in the cruelest way possible: by telling you that you are still awesome, wonderful, kickass you. What’s so cruel about it is that inevitably it comes as a weak and really uncaring afterthought. Here you are, feeling at your worst, and we’re going to try to mask it in a lukewarm attempt to make you feel better about yourself, leaving the larger, underlying issues unaddressed.

This is certainly not the way to go, not even in trying to deal with the issue yourself. Living by a coping mechanism meant to deny the experience you just had — or you might indeed have daily — means to delude yourself constantly, to live outside reality. There will be days when the aftertaste will be too strong to elevate yourself by motivation or self-affirmation and you will fall down like a weakly propped up cardboard cutout. And what will you do then?

What this approach precludes time and time again is the reality of the world we live in and the responsibility adults must take in mapping the possibilities around them. There were days, possibly in life before, when given how inexperienced even those really good in their craft were, we could make up for the difference by starting up ourselves. Now, as the people around us become more specialized and diverse in their craft and identity, to do the same is futile. The only way to move forward from the inadequacies of effortless perfection is to accept the inherent disparities in the world. Realize that you can gain some things for yourself but only with time. Realize that some people are born with unapproachable talent. You clearly still have worth as an individual, even in those worst moments. To insist in smoking up the mirror to ever see it is an insult to yourself.

Antoniu Chirnoaga is a Trinity sophomore. His column runs on alternate Fridays, and this column is part two of a two-part series.