Over the last few weeks, potential renters have come to view my home and peek inside my refrigerator door. My family remains on high alert–no bed will go unmade, no scrap of paper left un-filed, no books left un-stacked. Finding crumbs and streaks on a most-unforgiving stainless steel counter top, after I already cleaned it, is enough to send me into a spiral of crazy. I found myself wiping down a perfectly clean toilet at six o’clock this morning because I suspected it might possibly smell funny.
My husband told me that people are well aware we live here. As in, we actually make messes, hang towels to dry, and leave the occasional streak on the kitchen counter top. He said this as I mentally prepared to make the bed with him still sitting in it. It wouldn’t be the first time.
I don’t consider myself a perfectionist, but I do like to put on a good show. One employing lots of smoke and mirrors and a spritz of vanilla scented perfume. I am as emotionally messy as the next person, or maybe the next five people, but most of the time I find myself reaching for the rag to wipe away the scent of it. And yet, it lingers. The Nester likes to say: It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. She writes about bedrooms and kitchens, but I know she also embraces this philosophy about life. It sounds so simple, like the secret can’t quite be true because duh, we know that already. But, I think the message becomes warped as we whisper it down the lane. When was the last time you looked in the mirror and congratulated yourself on your imperfections, your scars born from a well-worn life? When did you last give yourself enough grace to say, I’m a mess, but damn I’m beautiful?
A few summers ago, I sat near an older gentleman at an outdoor café. He wore turquoise and feathers and a deep mahogany tan. The lines and grooves along his face told a story, and I traced them with my eyes and wondered where they began? Who did he love in the middle? Where would this trail end and another begin? He was a curious sight in the middle of a crowd of Swiss families all wearing hiking boots and parkas from the local Migros XX. I believe he received more than a few strange looks. He was perfectly imperfect. An original. He lived in his skin, and you could tell he liked it, lines, feathers, and all.