When I was a little girl during the 1960s my mother had a love affair with Better Homes & Gardens and House Beautiful magazines. However try as she might and my Mom was an excellent decorator (I believe she missed her calling) with two kids, a husband who smoked and various dogs our house was never as clean or as orderly as those pictured in the magazines. Periodically my 4’11” 95 lb mother would move those big heavy 1950s furniture from one end of the living room to the next causing my father great consternation when he tripped over tables or chairs that seemed to magically appear usually around Midnight when he got home from his late shift.
Though the houses and rooms were beautiful, they were only beautiful in an anti-septic, unlived in way. Pure white living rooms untouched by jumping muddy dogs, kids with drippy Popsicles, or cans of Rheingold and Schaefer beer cans making little rings on the end tables.
Everything is arranged, after all those pictures are photo shoots put together for maximum impact to the readers. Kitchens where nary a fried chicken or pork chop popped grease or soup boiled over. No cans of Crisco sitting on the counter-top. No spilled glasses of Kool-Aid, Orange Crush, Coca-Cola or Pepsi.
No smells of fish and chittlin’s being cleaned or bugs flying in from the holes in the ratty screens we put in the windows during the summer because we had no air conditioning. The pop and sizzle of the steel straightening comb being pulled through my Ultra Sheen saturated nappy kinky hair on a Saturday night in preparation for Sunday school in the morning.
Too perfect and we all know that life is not perfect. I like furniture to have character. Those little cracks, dents and chips give an openness and appeal that utter perfection cannot rival.
My family’s lives were not perfect. We were and are real people with real lives. Nothing is staged. My mother was a functioning schizophrenic alcoholic, my Dad was in a job that he found not fulfilling, my brother was born with Autism, I’ve battled depression since my teen years. No there are no picture perfect lives here. But now I’m no longer afraid or ashamed of my battle scars. I wear them proudly. I’ll take the nitty-gritty, those who society has deemed damaged goods, the unloved, the unwanted, the back alleys and the under belly of the business district at night, inner-city over Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous any day. I’m Blessed to be a Broken Angel.
As for disability Jesus said it best, John 21:18
Common English Bible (CEB)
18 I assure you that when you were younger you tied your own belt and walked around wherever you wanted. When you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and another will tie your belt and lead you where you don’t want to go.”