Number 1 friend dropped round a large bunch of tulips the other day, as a gesture of thanks. They were beautiful and I knew the exact jug that would show off their full potential. It was the jug with a chip on one side. No problem, I thought, whilst arranging them with as much love and attention as the thought that had gone into the purchase, I can just sit the chipped side of the jug so that it isn’t on show.
They looked gorgeous and every time I walked into the room, they filled me with happiness. I thought about how well the jug fitted in with my cushions and the cheap rug that I had bought for a carpet when a mysterious stain had appeared from nowhere and had needed an emergency cover up a few months before. I didn’t think about the chip and I didn’t think about the stain, as both were hidden from my view.
Our house is full to the brim. It is bursting with people and animals. It is overflowing with make-up brushes and throws. Every sheet seems to own the reminder of a nose bleed from when my daughters were small and every duvet cover at the moment has circles of fur, where much loved molting cats snuggle in – especially when the heating stops working, which recently, on the coldest days, it has been prone to do. These are the days when we must hunker down with a paper and a bottle of wine in front of the gas fire in the sitting room, which has started to become temperamental. Yet candles still have the ability to save even the grimmest, most unlucky of days and make you feel that things will somehow be ok.
This house is full of cracks and that is why I love it. That is why I feel at home. I don’t crave perfection. I relish imperfection. Maybe I see fuck-ups as a challenge and a distraction from routine. When things go wrong, there is the opportunity to put them right. In fact, to make them better than they even were before. Humans need fuck-ups. Fuck-ups rally the troops and give everyone a sense of community.
Perfection must surely make you anxious. Having to sustain perfection must be like never reaching the top of a mountain, but having the summit constantly in your sights. I don’t care if my children fuck-up; I did. Of course, I want them to do their very best and I want them to feel fulfilled, but the only way to achieve this is with knock backs, with things going wrong, with cracks. Because even with these cracks, they will still be fabulous. Even with all our human imperfections, we can shine. We can hide the cracks and we can mend them, but ultimately they make us beautifully flawed and most importantly, they are the making of us.