Everything I touched this week crumbled between my fingers. Ill-conceived, experimental cakes bubbled up and spilled over onto the oven floor, or stubbornly refused to dislodge themselves from heavily-floured pans. Meticulously-brewed indigo dye vats failed to bloom, leaving muted grayish blues in my linens instead of brilliant, deep hues. I’ve even managed to over-extract my coffee almost every morning. My inner perfectionist is trembling in her boots with frustration. I can’t seem to do anything right.
I’ve heard the term wabi-sabi floating around as of late, a Japanese-inspired aesthetic that celebrates the natural, the flawed, the decayed, the imperfect. It’s hand-thrown pottery, scratchy old records, the decaying gray barn in a field of summer wheat, leaning at an impossible angle from years of prairie winds. It’s choosing the aged, anonymous oil portrait at a flea market instead of ordering a poster online. It’s slightly-burnt, crumbling buttermilk biscuits straight out of the oven instead of fluffy white store-bought rolls.
Wabi-sabi is humble and meaningful. An object’s beauty comes from the story it tells. It’s all so achingly human. Which is why I think the concept of wabi-sabi can extend to more than just the way things look – it can be applied to our imperfect lives as well. Our failed cakes, our oxidized indigo, our over-extracted, bitter coffee. How boring our lives would be without failure, frustration, tragedy, inconvenience, struggles. So much beauty grows from the moments we wrestle with. The cracks let the light in, as they say.
So celebrate your failures alongside your triumphs. Bask in your brokenness. Allow yourself the grace of imperfection. Wear your gray-blue linens, eat a forkful of your un-dislodgeable beet cake, and know that your life is beautiful just the way it is.