Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wabi-Sabi / 03

The third installation of the wabi sabi series is from Rachel of Little Miss Black Bean. Rachel doesn't fit neatly into any boxes, and that's just one of the many reasons I enjoy visiting her digital world. I've been thinking about her answers to these questions all week, trying to address some of the issues she brings up in my own life.

Exploring the real, authentic, imperfect homes of others. 

Tell us about your home. 

I think our home is a pretty accurate depiction of where we are in our lives right now: two people in their mid-twenties, trying to figure out their place in the world. Our townhome has limited space, but we have come to appreciate that as it also limits the amount of STUFF we can own. Like typical newlyweds, we have college Craigslist furniture juxtaposed with a kitchen stocked with wedding gifts that we wouldn't have been able to afford on our own. While it's a bit more put together compared to when we first moved in a year ago, our home is still bits and pieces and ideas of what we'd like it to be -- an apt metaphor for all the other areas of our lives.

What is your relationship to the mess, to disorder?

It's no secret to anyone that knows me that mess gives me great anxiety. I feel like mess in our homes is one of the many items on the list of double standards women are expected to deal with: it should bother us enough to deal with it so no one has to see it, but we shouldn't admit that it is a stress or a struggle for us. As a feminist I wish I could say that I've found this zen acceptance and peace with mess, that I don't let it affect me. But that's simply not true in the slightest. Other people's mess makes me anxious from lack of control, and my mess makes me anxious from the guilt and shame of its existence. I'm working on it though; I'm in a better place now than before.

How does your home reflect wabi sabi?

The main goal of our home, primary to being pretty, is to be a welcoming space. Growing up, our friends always felt welcome in my parents' home and I want that to be true for our home and our kids one day. There's a balance to be struck in this, because while a filthy space doesn't feel inviting, neither does a sterile one. I want my family and friends to feel like they can curl up on the couch with a blanket without fear of disrupting the perfectly neat folds. I want to not worry about dishes when there's conversation to be had. Balance is a common theme for me, and I think (despite the things that I perceive to be flaws) our home reflects that balance. Above all, I want to always value people over things.

What do you find beautiful? 

I find beautiful the way mess can tell a story of the person that left it behind. Every morning Andrew leaves at least one drawer pulled out from getting dressed, and every afternoon I slide them back into place. I can't help but smile and know that I'll be doing that for the rest of our life together. He does the same for me when he finds fresh clothes spilling from the dryer onto the floor because I just needed one item from the pile. It becomes easier to turn an exasperated sigh into a chuckle when I realize there's a chance that one day I'll miss wiping up his crumbs and pushing in his drawers. Messes are temporary because we are temporary; I never want to not appreciate that I have a person to clean up after.

Thank you so much for sharing, Rachel. Since you sent me these answers last week, I have been trying to replace exasperated sighs with chuckles, and trying to work on the even more difficult task of replacing guilt with acceptance. 


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. I don't know how your comment got deleted, Rachel, but if I figure out how to crack the code on guilt, I promise I will have a very thorough post for all of you.