the simple minded suburbanite

August 18, 2010, 12:03 pm
Filed under: authenticity, culture, suburb, voluntary simplicity

I celebrated a birthday this weekend.  A BIG one!  I honored my inner schizophrenic and donned a red feather broach and red heals and salsa danced the night away with many good friends, one of whom always seems so amazed whenever I get dressed up and don makeup.  “I just can’t get over how pretty you look!  I mean most days you look  like, whatever, but when you get dressed up you look so pretty!”

Now, I’m not tooting my horn (though at my age I have every right to).  Instead I, in my self critical way, of course focus on what she said about most days I look like “whatever”, insinuating plain, average, forgettable.  Her shock at the juxtaposition of “whatever” with the “wow” when I actually do myself up then started to set in with me.   And I got to thinking, maybe I am a little on the dual personality side, a little salsa with my mozart, a little red feather broach with my basic black dress, a little throw the “f” work in with a philosophical quote.

And so I struggle.  I struggle sometimes with finding inner calm and craving constant change.  I struggle with a simple home and the love of tiny collections.

I remember a week before my wedding when, by design, the only two people who had seen my wedding dress were my mom and myself.  I waited for my maid of honor to fly in from NY and I promptly tried the dress on for her at the final alteration.  As I emerged from the dressing room and cascaded to the surrounding mirrors, she grinned and said, “It just like you, totally schizophrenic!”  And it was, plain and simple in the front and tons of “stuff” going on in the back.  And I think that was what I loved about it, the element of surprise.  Just when you thought you had seen my wedding dress, I turned around and there was a big, “whoa!” I never would’ve guessed!

And my home is the same way.  I look around and think, “Where did all of this crap come from?”  Like some strange person went on a binge shop at TJ Maxx Homegoods and lined every inch of free space.  Just when I think I’ve garage saled everything I never loved, more seems to spring up from the corners, like those damn cupboard moths that come in organic whole wheat flour!

Many things come in the forms of gifts. Most thing comes from my crap toting mother (see past references).  And a few things come from an effort to warm up a room that I can’t afford to re-do with a little vase or throw pillow that I know damn well I won’t like by the time (if ever) I can finance an overhaul.

So, I walk that line.  One side of me keeps the other in check.  You can’t wear red feathers to scrub the toilet.  You can’t throw out the “f” bomb at a Jungian Society Meeting.  You can’t keep your house bare and express your own desires and creativityat the same time.  So, I guess I’ll just keep that little element of “whoa” as a welcomed surprised to others and especially to myself.  We all could use a little mullet in our lives: business in the front and party in the back.  Word.


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