Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Imperfection is Perfection

One of the best friends anyone could hope to have I've only met once.

When I first started beading, Mecca was the Bead and Button shopping days.  I had NO idea what I was getting into, but I was starting out like gangbusters with my business, had a wide-open budget, and lordy lordy, stars in my eyes.

Allegra is the dearest of dear to me -- a friend, a surrogate mother, a confidante, a teacher, a mentor. It was no surprise when I knocked on her hotel door and we literally jumped up and down like school children. Two happier people were not in that hotel (including the ladies buying up all the beads!). She, her husband, and a small group of friends who bonded when Yahoo Groups ruled and Facebook didn't exist spent glorious days shopping and relaxing over occasionally raucous nights dining out. Our lovely guide, Ann, lived in the area and knew allll the good places, including the hotel that had, tucked away in a quiet corner, the equivalent of a $100,000 wedding dessert table full of chocolate this and chocolate that and omg that chocolate-filled-chocolate-covered thing over there! I don't know which was worse, my bead budget that day or my dessert tab. We had coffee afterwards to be all civilized and proper (however giddily), but believe me, there were some serious delicacies going down!

Maybe I'm exaggerating about the cost of the set-up but you know those shows, "Four Weddings", where the brides try to outdo each other and some have more money than sense? It was like that without the $100,000 bill! Gorgeous venue, quiet music, and a long bar full of delicacies. We were the only ones there, so it was our own fairyland. And did I mention the chocolate?

Those few days were when we knew we were EXPERIENCING LIFE!  We knew we had to savor every. single. second. because it would be impossible to encounter all of those things for the first time again ... to see those smiling faces for the first time again .. to learn and to laugh and to love for the first time .. to be blessed with joy the way a group of people like us, who were just meant to be together, could be so fortunate.

What does that have to do with my word of the day, kintsukuroi? Well, it has to do with what I'm trying to do with my life now that I've had surgery and am improving and healing yet am afraid I'll never find joy again. I feel broken and lost and quite often sorry for myself. Feeling exactly that way tonight, I got out of bed and wrote this blog post (so please excuse the grammar and typos!).

Again, Allegra. 

Allegra took me under her wing from day one on the Yahoo Groups and taught me more than she will ever know, both about beads and about life. For instance, she taught me there is no such desirable thing as a perfect Persian rug. A Persian rug is meant to be perfectly imperfect, and precisely imperfect. Traditional, hand-made Persian rugs have intentional flaws because the Muslim artists feel that only Allah is perfect and has the right to create perfectly.

That makes me think. Why am I trying to be so darned perfect?

Now, it matters not whether you believe in God or Allah or the Great Spaghetti Monster. The point is perfection shouldn't hound us like dogs nipping at our heels, forcing us on and on to be the epitome of "this is sublimely exceptional perfect", and often losing our way in the process.

Yet so many of us push ourselves that way, don't we?

What we should be asking ourselves is...


Another word Allegra taught me was kintsukuroi, a lovely Japanese word that also embraces the imperfect by making broken bits, cracks, and chips even more beautiful and embracing the flaws. Combine the idea of the Persian rug and kintsukuroi, and you have a pretty good road map for life. 

We all knew those four days were going to end, but while we were together, it felt blissfully like time stopped, and I've only had a precious few moments in my life like that. All of us knew this was special, imperfectly so. We lost one friend to cancer. Another is fighting cancer. One drifted away. Ann and I still shop together whenever I can make it out to Milwaukee, which has been a while, but she's a dear and I love her, and I hope to see her next year at the show.

Allegra, though -- she is indeed one of a kind. Like the ropes binding the pier above, she was the glue, the one with the funniest anecdotes and the most interesting stories, the one we were all drawn to. She knew which bead artist to visit and in what order, she knew when to put our feet up and tell more stories, and she taught us all what a Scotch egg was. She was just -- perfect. But if she were here, she would remind me of those beautiful rules of imperfection ... and I love her all the more for it. 

I pray with all I have that I will get to see Allegra again. It's been sixteen years since that trip, and a whole lot of frayed threads and cracked porcelain have happened during that time. Somehow I wonder how we stand it. But then I think of my little boy painting joyfully over vases that were supposedly already perfect, my dropping dozens of 3 mm gemstones all over the floor over and over again, and Allegra's rug with the flaw you can barely see, but is comforted that it's there. These flaws -- they keep us human. Imperfectly so.

One of my original blog headers sums it up well. Life should be full of beautiful experiences and pretty things. Life doesn't have to be perfect to be valued or important. We don't have to worry about the chocolate dribble on our cheek or being afraid of a Scotch egg (they're delicious, by the way). We're all there for the moment, and life is full of moments, I like to think, rather than a long tedious, stressful path we never deviate from. 

May you find your bowl with cracks and chips and paint it gold.



  1. I am humble, a very unusual virtue to acquire at my age, but it is true and sincere. I so wish so many times that you were the daughter not only of my heart but the daughter of my every day hopes, the one to cook with, to fall over ourselves when finding the perfect beads, to scream with joy when others are doing well, to find the way to nowhere dreams to share, and then spread them among those who have not found them yet. You know that the love of my life loved you as much and he was always is awe of our relationship, saying that he often spent time wondering in which past life we were together that we were so familiar with each other. He mentioned the diva bracelet to me more than once, saying he never thought I would part with it and my response was, I didn't. A bit of my heart will always be there, because each an every one of those beads had a story of its own, and it was up to me to discovered until you were about to get into that bus, and my heart was pounding and I knew that if I could not go with you, at least a part of my heart will be there to hold you and to be held by you no matter how far apart we were to be. And you know what? never have I felt far apart from you. You and I are the imperfect rug that time has made, and you and I will be that for as long as there is a bead in the Universe. You are indeed the daughter of my heart and I no longer wish for anything but to see you, to be near, even tho I confess that I feel you near even through this distance. We will see each other when both this boring illnesses leave us alone to do what we do best: be the never perfect, true accepting each other for what we are, life starts anew with the first step tomorrow, once the pain goes away for good we shall be whole again,and then we will see each other again in every little bead that may make us not only smile but make the hearts laugh out loud and dance with the beads.

    I love you, no matter what you may forget in your life, never forget that.


    1. Oh that gorgeous, gorgeous Diva bracelet. I couldn't write about that because I knew I'd just bawl all over the computer. When you gave me that I knew part of our souls were indeed connected. It is still such an amazing piece of art that when not worn is on display.

    2. ok, both of these post are beautiful. it makes me long for a relationship like yours. ok, that's it. adopt me! but seriously, one of you make the trip, soon, now, no matter what. life throws us too many curve balls so we have to capture the moments and times we can now. we are never promised tomorrow so grab today and go!!!! then, post about it. and the bracelet please, at least a pic! I am so glad you are doing better. we all suffer with things, many of them hidden. also know that happiness is fleeting, joy is enduring and it comes from within while happiness depends on outside influences. (I also believe that Joy comes from God but that is mine to own). there. my wisdom for today.

  2. Ohhhh Lori, this is so Beautiful it nearly made me cry!!! I really needed this today!!! I am sooo very glad you have these wonderful memories. I am sooo glad you are getting better! Love You Bunches!!!

  3. This is a beautifully written, gloriously expressive, and fully satisfying blog post, Lori! I read somewhere that we should strive for excellence and not perfection, and I believe that is my new mantra. Perfection is impossible to achieve, while excellence is possible in every aspect of our lives. Thank you for making me reflect on this today!

  4. So good to see you back — gold packed into the cracks and gleaming brightly! Some parts of life’s journey truly suck. Ok - a lot of parts! But what matters is how we just keep moving forward seeking and sharing the beauty we do find. And that, my friend, is exactly what you do and have been doing all along. ❤️ <3

  5. Our imperfections is what makes us each unique and beautiful! 💗

  6. Thank you for a beautiful post. It has given me much to think about.

  7. Very poignant post dear. So happy to see you post. Life is not easy and definitely not fair...but it is an adventure and we are stronger for all of our experiences. Love and Healing Energy continue for you Sweet Lori! <3

  8. Wonderful post and it is great reading Allegra's response as well. That truly was the best bead and button ever. I am horrible at keeping in touch, which is why I love facebook. At least I can see pictures.

  9. Thank you Lori for posting this. Life is our own journey. Rarely is it easy and relaxed. I am so glad to hear that you are on the mend. The idea that we think we have to be perfect is flawed. I like the imperfections that life brings. It would be boring without them. If I could help you to see Allegra again I would. My thoughts are with you as you heal.

  10. god bless you and your family loner

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