I am a ex-perfectionist. For years, whenever I bought something, I would examine the entire stock to make sure that my item was the newest, best and brightest. I would dig through stacks of books to find the edition at the bottom that hadn't been touched. Then I would take my things home and wait for that perfect day when I would use them. I had beautiful table linens that had never seen a wine stain, dishes still in bubble wrap and vintage napkins that had never been unfolded.
Then in 1996 I got married...and things began breaking. Dishes were chipped during post-party washing up sessions and champagne glasses were accidentally shattered out of sheer joy. Tabletops were scratched, wine stains appeared on the couch and scuff marks were a reminder of the night we turned the dining room into a dance floor. Slowly and surely, my precious possessions began to assume the patina of character, something they had never had before. I realized that my quest for perfection had not defined me; instead, it had trapped me.
Character is about second-hand threadbare rugs...
...chipped pieces of pottery that hold butter just as well as they did before...
...and beloved black swans that have been painstakingly glued back together after the cat made an ill-judged leap.
When my son came along in 2001, well, you can only imagine how things degenerated after that.
Today, I firmly embrace flaws of all kinds. Behind every chip and crack is a story. Imperfections are what give our possessions meaning. I look forward to watching my couches become shabby from nights of togetherness, my dishes become increasingly mismatched and my house become a well-worn sanctuary that enfolds one and all.