March 11th, 2010

There’s so much blah blah blah about how fashion magazines distort a woman’s self image, but I know I’m not going to be able to fit into or afford anything in Vogue. Shelter magazines and design blogs are a different story. I want the lives they suggest are possible to be lived in those gorgeous rooms. I leaf through¬†Elle Decor and think my bedroom would be a haven of peace and serenity if I only moved all the furniture out and painted the floorboards white–you know, Swedish style in South Carolina. And oh yes, I need to distress the white chest sold to me as an antique ¬†(also known as junk) whose drawers only open half way. I have to inch my hand in to drag out a pair of tights, but it’s vintage. On less minimalist days, I lean toward Bohemian Hippie Rich on a budget, but if I tried to create a mood wall of photos and art like the one on the magazine page above, it would look like one of those pitiful homes of a hoarder that pop up on the news every now and then. All grimy and random, not artful and studiously casual. And the rosy wall paint that references stuccoed Italian villas out of Enchanted April? It would look like Milk of Magnesia no matter how many times I went to Home Depot to remix it. Today, nothing in my life fits right, nothing is magazine-worthy. Not the living room walls (did I really choose Spearmint?), not the sheepskin rug (it looked so good in the magazine!), not the the wires hanging down from the TV and the multiple hideous cable boxes (I can’t commit to a flat screen wall installation because maybe I’ll give up TV or move it to another room) and especially not the thrift shop bedside table with a blue mirrored top (I’m sorry, but you’re so ugly). A friend of mine says this is a necessary stage you have to go through when you’re trying to change your life or shed your old skin. It’s like being between dress sizes — nothing fits and everything sucks. And all you can see is lack, not how lucky you are to be transforming.

3 Responses to “Lack”

  1. Before we moved to Belgium, I downsized and thought I’d done a good job. Not really. I downsized again before we returned to America years later and sent truckloads of things to charity in Belgium. When I unpacked in America, I was shocked by all the stuff I still had. Items that had been in storage for years or in transit for months elicited different reactions as they emerged from boxes and paper. I’d think, “Why do I own this? What is its real value to me, not its imagined value?”

    It *was* a transformational process. It made me confront so many truths about myself, my life, my history, my values, my expectations.

  2. Jen says:

    Hmm. Love the comment above. I wonder about that too. My husband and I discuss ditching our lives for a year to live in an rv and travel the country slowly. We did it before, years ago, and even then I was amazed at what I didn’t need. At the time there wasn’t the accumulated objects in our lives like we have now.

    What to leave behind, What to keep, what to give away?

    What if we really are just happier with less?

    ps- is it wrong that I’m happy that you are transforming?? Each entry feels like some sort of guidepost.

  3. OK, if your white chest of drawers is vintage and made of all wood, not particle board, take it somewhere and get it in the condition you want. The furniture refinishing people can both make the drawers open fully and give it the distressed look you want.
    Ask around to get someone that is good at this and get a price quote before you commit.
    Bossy advice, I know, but you’ll be glad you took charge of this situation and changed things for the better.

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