For stationary addicts, perfection can be confused with an empty planner. The pristine page – symbolising a whole, untouched year – is so daunting that you hesitate to put a blot on it, because what if you ruin it?
Well. I propose another way to look at perfection. And obviously I’m operating from the assumption that there is such a thing as perfection, even though I know that can be debated. But we’ve all experienced something we felt was perfect – a day, a movie, a piece of music – but that perfection isn’t universal, or valid for everyone. It’s not an objective fact – it’s a subjective fact.
Which, you know… aren’t they all?
But let’s not go down that rabbit hole today. I’m just here to propose, on the third day of the western new year and the cusp of breaking all those resolutions, that perfection isn’t a new beginning. It’s what comes at the end of a messy process full of dead ends and mistakes. You don’t put pen to pristine paper and produce perfection from scratch. Nothing grows out of perfection – it’s perfection that does the growing: it’s the end product, and it literally needs some shit to give it life.
Take a flowering apple tree: it didn’t spring into existence from a perfect void. It grew from dead leaves and dirt.
So why do some of us view the emptiness of infinite promise as perfect, rather than the end product? Because we haven’t put our (imperfect) stamp on it. We haven’t ruined the thing with our less-than-stellar Stuff. We haven’t yet revealed our new 2019 life for what it is – “a mingled yarn, good and ill together” (All’s Well). Perhaps it feels messy and wrong to fill a pretty book with pain and confusion side by side with euphoria and hope.
Is that the problem? That the book only seems pretty until you fill it with your ugly handwriting and your slightly non-noble thoughts? That the year looks promising until you’re a few days in and you realise you’re the same person you were in 2018, with the same insecurities and baggage?
Well, you can’t fix a shitty self image in a day. But maybe you can get somewhere in a year? Maybe it’s not in January we should judge ourselves, but in December? At the end of the year, when the planner is all filled out, maybe that’s when you’ll see the beauty of it. Maybe your ugly handwriting improves in hindsight, when every page is covered in the same illegible scrawls, making the whole thing a kind of abstract pattern.
And maybe a string of bad days can take on a new and beautiful meaning as you look back on them and realise that holy fuck, you actually survived that!
Today I’m sharing a “craft with me” video where I add to my December junk bujo. Only for the journal obsessed. The rest of you will fall asleep!
This new journal hobby of mine is quickly spiralling out of control. I’m now branching out into junk journalling, which is when you recycle scraps of paper and other materials to make notebooks. Many of the stunning work I’ve seen on YouTube and Instagram are very romantic and as far from minimalistic as you can get. Count me in!
My latest haul from the thrift store! 🙂
Which I’m now ripping apart…
… and staining with tea and coffee to make the paper look old.
The stained paper will soon join forces with postcards, flowers, silk ribbons, and lace to form new books!
And if this horrifies you, remember that these books I’m destroying would probably never have been sold anyway, so in the end they would have been burnt. I mean, come on: a booklet about the history of banks? At least I’m giving them a second life. 🙂