Because a life unexamined is lived without intention.
Monday, December 10, 2012
Glitter and Ribbons and Wrapping Paper of the Soul
Leaden skies draped my world in dewy garland today. Even now, the rain is still sliding down the windows as the street lights flicker on beyond, their halos misty in the night. Christmas twinkles along the edges of my sight, the fairy lights draped across the bar, the holly piled high atop the china hutch, the buffet littered with half drunk bottles of wine and a dozen glasses among the poinsettias and candles. Our holiday bash crept up so quickly, my month of novel writing just ended and I had but a week to deck the house and bake the nibbles to delight; a week of ladders and lights and hanging the Moravian star. Ribbons that swirl and stars that spin in the pine-scented drafts...oh, how I love Christmas!
The house is so quiet. The first day without a scribbled list on legal pad yellow paper, each item crossed off with satisfaction and the last with utter exhaustion. The first day without a deadline except dinner--and bacon wrapped pork chops with lemon and sage make for patient mouths, willing to wait however long it takes. I curled up with a cup of cinnamon tea this afternoon and watched the slate coloured sky, recollecting moments of hilarity and joy during the party, as well as several of frustration and fatigue in that week leading up to it. Entertaining is a creature born of effort and organization; it dares you to reach higher, try harder, and do it while ever smiling.
I've been known to joke that I only entertain after dark as candle light is the most flattering, hiding the flaws and imperfections in this ancient house--thus every room is lit with their flickering glow. I passionately adore the character of the old and weathered but as I hung the wreath to cover the crack in the wall, tied the lights to hide the chipped mantle, dangled the ornaments from the dining room chandelier to draw the eye away from the unfinished mount, I was reminded of....myself.
The eyeliner to distract from the shadows that hover beneath, lipstick to cover the weariness, a smile to counteract the anger that can be read in the clench of my jaw. Baubles to glitter at my ears, my hair twisted and tucked into shape. Sometimes I feel I wrap and decorate myself much as I do a gift, only I am unsure if it is to prolong the surprise of the wonder inside....or to conceal the defects and disappointments. Each of us fights our own battle to accept ourselves, this I know. Under a barrage of advertising that encourages lifelong dissatisfaction and a hunger for bigger, better, lovelier and sparkly...thinner, smarter, faster...perpetual reckless improvement.
This holiday, our entertaining now done for the most part, I'm looking forward to quiet nights and peppermint spiked cocoa. Long afternoons in my painted clothing perhaps working on a new canvas, my hair damp from the shower, my cheeks pale in the light. I'm hoping to be more honest with myself...more realistic with my energy and time. More genuine with my emotions. Let us fight the rabid dog of commercialism and comparisons. Let us enjoy each other while resisting the unattainable myth of perfection.
Here's to unwrapping our souls...may we cherish what we discover.