ExplosivesToday I noticed that my beautiful skin has sun spots on it, lines and wrinkles too — and one bulgy place, near the middle.

Also, I noticed again that my terra cotta kitchen floor has a dark scratch in it. I have a rug over the scratch, but it slips from time to time, and shows the mar.

Today I ate, steadily — therapy for scratches, and spots —  and I watched Romeo and Juliet die eloquently, in Fanco Zeffirelli’s movie version of Shakespeare’s tragic love story.

Life with or without the Capulets and Montagues, feuding in the background, is often far from perfect. Family isn’t perfect, and we aren’t either. Somebody told me recently, “I don’t like my voice; it’s nasally. It sounds like Yzma, the old lady in the The Emperor’s New Groove.” And there is more than that which is not perfect.

Last week, my uncle Jerry’s wife passed away. I talked with Uncle Jerry on the phone last night. He was watching some nature DVD’s, and feeling lonely —  of course. He said that he had gone out to the a swap meet that morning, looking for art, as he always does on Saturdays. He’s incredibly knowledgeable about American art. He was kind of wondering if going out was okay, seeing how little time had passed. I told him I thought it was.

Life isn’t perfect — or when it is — it doesn’t stay that way for long. Nothing survives the clot and rot of time’s inexorable march into dust.

But in our minds we want it good, better and we want it best. Perhaps we too much want it perfect.

Perhaps we want too much the enviable body, the together look, the perfect floor or family or schooled and accomplished self.

But it’s come to me of late what a fool’s errand perfectionism is, a false companion, to us all.

I’ve noticed lately how beautifully imperfect all things present themselves. I happened across on an old rusted trailer last weekend, rotting in a field. There, in the moment, it was a sort of amazing piece of dying artwork,  colored in rust —  a ripped, deteriorating, eroding, fading wonder. It was splendor in decline, but still splendid.

Take the human body. Most bodies, after the early years, aren’t taut, toned, sculpted, curvy or proportioned perfectly. They aren’t like the ones in the  magazines, they are not like the bodies on TV or in the movies. But bodies, not perfectly shaped, not the advertizing standard, not the current culture’s fickle fashion, are yet all amazingly beautiful.

Small, large, skinny, layered, lumpy, protuberant, muscled, flabby — all good. Skin itself  is always beautiful if we just accept it as it is — in rolls, puckered,  smooth, wrinkled, lined. It is all gorgeous and amazing as the protective human fabric we model for each other everyday.

It would be best to be done with wanting things to be perfect. If they are, we should enjoy them as that, but if they are not, and they will be not perfect longer than they are perfect, we should enjoy them just as well.

Exult in imperfection! Take pleasure in used. Accept scratches. Revel in spots. Even, make friends with death.

And, be particularly kind, I’d say, to family, and avoid feuding, with others and yourself. And most personally, be easy on your body, your own artfully deteriorating trailer. Gentle your needy. Honor your cracking voice. Savor your rust! Tender your fat. Love your jiggly parts. Be kind to your scrawniness. Shepherd your shyness and your sadness too. Make friends with your forgetfulness. And love your skin, that sumptuously beautiful bag that yet retains your lovely, sagging warp and woof.

I’m good with that. I advise you, to be happy, be  good with all that too.

  1. Mercy Gonzalez-Barnes says:

    Thanks for the words of wisdom

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