Tag Archive for: Wabi-sabi

Too Perfect

Kimberly Jayne

love journals. I request them for birthdays and other gift-giving opportunities
where I can actually tell people what they can buy me. They’re going to buy me
something, so it may as well be what I want, right? Journals are beautiful
inside and out, and I must have them. Plus, I have never found a reason to
re-gift a journal. Ever. Because that would be wrong. 

here’s the problem. You knew there would be one, right? Yes, there’s a problem.
It’s the girdle of perfection that squeezes the daring out of me. See, my
beloved journals are perfect. I adore them. I fondle their smooth edges and
bindings and dream of the worthy thoughts and ideas that only I can pour
inside. I covet them like Scrooge covets his bags of gold, all for myself. The
one thing I don’t do is write in them. They are simply too perfect. 

currently have a collection of a dozen beautiful journals that now serve only
to taunt me because they’re gathering dust and slowly disintegrating, as all
things do with the passage of time, without the glory of someone’s pen (mine)
scrawling and jotting and doodling and masterpiecing across their pages. I
know. This could be the very definition of sad. *Sheds pitiful writer’s tears.*

obviously, this is a bit of a conundrum because the reason I ask for journals
in the first place is precisely because they’re beautiful, and I really do want
to write in them. One would be perfect for recounting my life so my children
would actually learn who I am after I’m dead. One would be perfect for writing my
innermost thoughts about men and relationships and sex—but, er, what if someone
finds it after I’m dead? And still another without lines would be perfect for
drawing and sketching and arting, except that I’m no Michelangelo. I’m not even
a Southpark Trey Parker. And there I’d be, embarrassing my children from the
grave. *Pauses. Considers the merits of this one.*

have intended to change this situation for a long time, coaxing and finagling,
and bribing myself into writing something in each journal. So far, I
have inscribed my name. I do have nice handwriting. Meanwhile, I keep adding
more journals. Every time I walk into a book store, I walk out with a perfect,
hoardworthy journal that remains as I received it: empty and deprived.

So I
mentioned this little “problem” to some writer friends at a retreat last
weekend. One of them is not only a writer and a longtime friend but a life and
creativity coach. A wise and delightful woman, she immediately identified a
solution. Wabi-sabi.

represents Japanese aesthetics and a world view centered on the acceptance of
transience and imperfection. A concept derived from Buddhism, the aesthetic is
described as beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. Like my
journals. Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry,
roughness, and the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes. In
other words, Wabi-sabi says the beauty of an object is in its flaws. In a
pretty but cracked vase, wabi-sabi is the flaw where the gift of light pours
in. And whose broken heart isn’t the personification of wabi-sabi?

short, wabi-sabi struck me right between the brain lobes, creating a fissure in
my thinking—and how very wabi-sabi that there the light shined in. It was so
simple. So illuminating. So right in front of me all along. By writing in my
journals, I’m not sullying their pages with my existential drivel. I’m not
destroying the beauty and perfection of their craftsmanship. I’m not wasting
the trees that gave their lives to be tattooed by my brain matter. In fact, I’m
making my journals more beautiful, more valuable, more worthwhile—if to no one
else but me. And any family that survives me. 

To make sure I won’t slide back into [absurd] old habits, I invited two of my nanababies to color on the first few pages. And guess what? The journals have become even more precious to me and, far from perfect, I’m free to fill them up with abandon—and writer stuff.

about you? What can wabi-sabi do for you? How can it break the girdle of
perfection that binds you? Can it free you, as it has freed me?
Kimberly Jayne is the author of the dark fantasy series
Demonesse: Avarus and the hilarious romantic comedy Take My Husband, Please. She has been making up stories since she was five, when she scribbled on her grandfather’s notepads her first tall tale about pigs flying. Yes, she started that shtick. Since then, she’s written just about everything and for various websites and clients, including humor features for Playgirl Magazine. She also performed her work in the 2011 Listen to Your Mother Show in Austin, Texas. Visit her at ReadKimberly.com.