This is a guest post from Diana Baur, amazing ceramic artist, restorer of homes and furniture and world citizen, originally published on her blog “La Bella Vita”. It struck a chord when I read it so I asked her to post it here. Disorganized minds unite!
I have a confession to make. I’m disorganized.
I work hard at hiding my chaos from the viewing public. It’s there to see, of course – the haphazard receipts in my purse, the lack of coherency in my closet, the socks (and more) under the bed. Even as I have tried to reduce and simplify to get a handle on the disorder, I admit none of it comes naturally.
I cannot tell you how it was to own and operate a five star B&B and keep this part of me squirreled away indefinitely from the viewing public. It’s one thing to start each working day at point zero and bring everything to a high standard. It’s an entirely different thing to start at point minus twenty and do the same thing. It ate up a lot of my life force to do that. More than I care to think about.
I am not going to sit here and say I didn’t enjoy it. I enjoyed a great deal of it. But I spent too much time fussing about all the things that were not, in my mind’s eye, perfect. To complicate things, the property was 400 years old. If there’s something that’s never going to be perfect, it’s a 400 year old stone house.
I have often considered the irony of that.
I missed, in those days, the big glaring elephant in the room. And the elephant knew this: People were not coming to our B&B for perfection. They were coming there because of us, our story, and what we had created. And the warm, inviting atmosphere came, in large part, from my sense of chaos and willingness to throw things together in such a way that they felt comfortable but not planned. They were coming for the creative energy on our little hill in the wine country.
The part of me that shames me was actually responsible for creating the very thing people loved. It wasn’t perfection they were looking for after all; it was rather the magic that came from whirling creativity that expresses itself on occasion as a hot mess.
Now, all these years later, I consider the ultimate irony in that and feel grateful for it.
I learned from this. Changing my basic nature is not going to happen. And I find that I no longer want to. I am accepting that there is only so much order I can demand of myself without being self-destructive. And while I’m pretty sure I’ll never completely get away from the small voice demanding some kind of unattainable perfection, I will learn to hush her as I choose my paints and clay and messy sock draw over the dust rag and Swiffer one more time.