per·fec·tion noun

1. The condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.

2. A person or thing perceived as the embodiment of such a condition, state, or quality.

Exactly how far are you willing to go for perfection?

Of course, this question in turn begs another one immediately: is there such a thing as perfection?

Well that depends-on everything.

Slowly, meticulously, methodically, and with the same reverence usually reserved by priests attending an altar, she glides the cloth over each curve of the instrument, pausing to pay special attention to particularly persistent bits of filth. She works her way underneath the steel strings, using every trick in her adept fingers to eliminate the dust by the pickups, and then by the bridge. The ghosts of her finger prints linger all over the black paint, and the harsh light from over head makes them stand out all the more.

She frowns-that is unacceptable.

She turns the stringed beast over, polishing the back, and then the front again, until the grim concentration in her face is replaced by the barest semblance of satisfaction. She puts the cloth aside and reaches for her strap, adjusting it and then fitting it to the front and back; she stands up, lowering the guitar gently against the counter top as she takes a shuddering breath and observes herself in the mirror. She can hear the crowd out there, even in her dressing room; the low, continuous hum of their energy is as exhilarating as it is terrifying. She is frightened yes-but more excited for what is to come, yes, excited, she thinks as she slings the guitar over her shoulder, basking in its comfortably familiar weight, and takes a pick out of her pocket. She timidly plucks a few strings, giggling at how tame the guitar sounds when it isn't plugged into the amp-she knows that its transformation from a docile kitten to a roaring tiger is awe inspiring and incredible. She twitches her fingers, feeling each joint crackle slightly, before her fingers move up and down the neck alarmingly fast; she knows how to tame this six stringed beast, and theirs is a partnership that is dominated by respect and forged with the endless, endless hours of practice.

For the first time in the last hour, she smiles. She feels the emotion build up in her like a volcano as she approaches the stage, now hearing the chanting of the crowd as she takes the cable and plugs it into the towering amp to her right. This was it, she would go out there and give it her all; this would be the result of all her endless preparation. The volcano explodes as she dashes onto the stage and launches into her first song, lost in the chaos, swept away by the tide of excitement and the raw energy of the crowd, until that one moment when everything just feels right, where the blood coursing through her veins and the roar issuing from her throat matches each electrified seismic shock coming from her guitar.

She gives no thought to perfection.

"Diamond," which was derived from the Greek adámas,means "unbreakable" or "untamed." It is quite a fitting name, considering how such a piece intricate lattice work came to be formed-

But it was not always flawless.

Before it was reborn as one of the many glistening, sparkling marvels that sit now in the display case of a jewelry store, the diamond was common, average, perhaps not even worth paying attention to-a stark contrast to its present incarnation, to be sure. From the raging, roaring, blazing bowels of the earth, pressured to the point of transforming itself, imitated, though no amount of industrial magic or make up could ever fool the trained eye, or disguise the true beauty within. And so a common rock eventually became a highly prized, expensive and valuable object. It is one of the hardest substances; free from the impurities that plague all other stones; it is crystallized perfection.

And it can be yours- for a price.

But then, is it really perfection?

I'm a firm believer that there is such a thing as perfection, but only in our own perception. After all, we set our own standards, and while we may be satisfied with a particular result, for others it still may be "imperfect." But that is where the perfection lies for me-all the little "flaws" are really things that make anything more beautiful, that make it what it is, for it wouldn't be the same without that. Such a notion has gone beyond the cliché nowadays, but it is something I truly believe in. Being an artiste, in music, in literature, in acting, in languages-I can say that I've pushed myself to the brink of my abilities multiple times and I've never really been satisfied until I feel it. I'm sure many of you will understand what I mean, whether you identify as an "artiste or a revolutionary or just a plain human being whose only identity that suffices is that of self-assurance and knowledge.

Perfection cannot be bought, perfection cannot be forced, and perfection can only come to those who let go and embrace everything.

A/N:This contemplative rant was inspired by my own musings on the concept of how far humans are willing to push themselves to achieve the unattainable. But then I got to thinking-is it really unattainable? Does it exist, and if so, what is it? And voila, this is the result! I was also inspired by Darren Aronofsky's movie Black Swan, where this is one of the many underlying themes and questions that kept me awake for more than one night. The movie was brilliant, and must be seen multiple times to be understood and for its subtlety to be appreciated; the soundtrack was breathtakingly hauntingly beautiful; and this song served as the track to this piece, as it was aptly named Perfection.