Wednesday, January 23, 2013

a blemished life

What I Love Most Print

My life used to be immaculate. All of my belongings were intact, pristine, dust-free, tidy. Everything appeared as if it were new even after years of use. I lived in a sea of white—white couches, white carpets, white throw pillows and blankets, white sheets...white, white, white. And none of it was stained. I invested in nice furniture, and polished the unscratched surfaces weekly. My floors reflected the scenery above them like clean, shiny lakes and there was nary a cobweb in my life. There were no junk drawers or secret messy closets. Everything was organized, labeled, color-coded.

I used to be immaculate. My finger nails were always trimmed and my cuticles pushed back. My hair was washed with unnecessarily expensive shampoo that I purchased at the salon I would frequent regularly for cuts, colors, and deep-conditioning treatments. My face was cared for by a facialist, and slathered with only top-shelf products. I put time and thought into picking out outfits. I always knew what was in fashion. I worked out at the gym religiously, walked to yoga class before the sun came up, meditated daily. I got a solid 9-10 hours of sleep every night, uninterrupted.

Now, my life is blemished. There are rips in the bookjackets of all my favorite books, tiny claw marks across my once-prized leather ottoman, butternut squash puree stains on my white clothes, a crimson childbirth stain on my bed, scratches on anything made of wood that lives within the walls of my home. There are enormous divots etched into the floors of my living room from the time I attempted to move a piece of furniture, but couldn't, because I was 6-months pregnant. I live in loungewear and slippers. My legs haven't seen the sharp side of a razor since summertime. I use rubber bands instead of hair shampoo. I only manage to tend to my nails when I accidentally scratch the baby. My house is my gym, and wearing my baby in a sling for five hours a day is my exercise machine. My meditation involves rhythmically patting my child's back with my eyes closed as I repeat my mantra—shhhhhh, shhhhhh, shhhhhh—until she finally falls asleep.

But, there are shared snuggles on that stained white sofa, evidence of infant-sized milestones on the carpet with the pulled apart wool on its edges, nourishment in the pile of paperwork that has been sitting on my kitchen counter since I gave birth, purpose in the duct tape covered holes in my floor. There are moments of triumph in my slightly widened hips, laughter in my overstretched belly button, inspiration in the split ends I've neglected, devotion in the seemingly permanent dark circles underneath my eyes. There are minutes and hours and days of my sweet angel's life that I could not reclaim had I remained immaculate.

There is a life here where there used to be none.


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