Bless This Mess.

This post is a weird one, admittedly. But, over the weekend, I wrote a short short story (yep, no typo) about an elderly Japanese woman who decided to stay in the 19-mile radius evacuation zone despite the warnings. The other day on Twitter, I tweeted about being messy, about scribbling in between the lines, spilling my tea, about breaking things. I am so sick of everything so perfect perfect everywhere online, perfect photos, perfect lives, perfectly-placed items, everything perfectly curated purposely to show the absence of mess, chaos, confusion, and in some senses, life.

To me it’s the imperfections that lead us to perfection. I.e., there is no perfection until we unleash and embrace and lay bare our imperfections. Perfection isn’t the lack of life, but the celebration of it, in all of its messiness, noise, stress, love.

It’s where it’s okay to miss a stitch, to have an imperfect seam, to have a hair out of place, to not know what to say. The other day I realized that after I had run an errand that my lipstick was totally on askew, and wondered what the people at the vet thought when I went inside. I sat in the car and in the tiny mirror couldn’t see much else other than my lips, the lipstick a little above my cupid’s bow, some had even slipped a little below my bottom lip. And I laughed at the part of me that was immediately horrified by two tiny smudges.

I’m always the one with slightly crazy hair or an earring half falling out or a laugh that’s too loud, never perfect, despite my best intentions. I’m clumsy, I can’t wear anything white due to my penchant for spilling my tea and coffee, there always seem to be some cat hair hitching a ride on the back of my skirt or coat. I once stained my entire face using a coffee scrub. And that’s okay.

I’m okay with that. Because it’s these little foibles that bring me back to the imperfection of life and the true beat of living. I don’t want to see your projected life or what you wish your life was like, I want to see your life. I’m not saying bring on the wreckage, I’m saying show me your messes. That’s where creativity lies.

So, in that spirit, I’m posting the story here. It’s not perfect,* or even necessarily good. But it felt good to play around with fiction as I haven’t in years. It felt good to stretch my brain even though the outcome wasn’t stellar. And it’s imperfect. I share it with you as a reminder that life is messy, our creations are messy.

Bring on the mess, bring on the scribbles, bring on the experiments, bring on what you really see, instead of what you wish us to see.


*I’m resisting the urge to edit the typo right now, though…


When I was a kid and wrote fiction, I used to write things like “This is not about real life!” on the cover of my notebooks so people wouldn’t think all the weirdness was autobiographical. This story is pretty much the same thing. I just started wondering, what if you couldn’t leave the area? Or had no reason to leave? How many people would that be? What would they be thinking? Doing? Seeing?

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3 Responses to Bless This Mess.

  1. Heather March 28, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    I’m with you, Betsy!

  2. Betsy March 31, 2011 at 6:56 am #

    Thanks, Heather!

    (And Tammy for the trackback!)

    Rad! <3

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  1. love this.. « muse - March 30, 2011

    […] craft + activism = craftivism. » Blog Archive » Bless This Mess.. […]

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