There is a reason I never wear white. And it has nothing to do with my virtue (which is obviously unassailable). It’s because I have a drink problem.
Yesterday I was on my way to an event to coordinate a lovely young couple’s wedding. As I left the house, I congratulated myself on how chic I looked: new Christmas black cardigan, a dazzlingly white as yet unworn shirt, skinny jeans and fabbo boots.
“Wow,” I thought to myself as I glanced admiringly in the rearview mirror. “I may be wading through the proverbial, but I can still really pull it togeth– ” And that’s when it happened. As I slugged back my last bit of coffee, it sloshed straight out the side of the mug and – in a sort of Dadaist pattern – went right down the front of my brand new white shirt. With three minutes to go before my arrival.
So goes my life. Or, isn’t that just how life goes though? Life in my experience is one long banana peel waiting to happen interrupted by occasional moments of brilliance. All the more stunning for their rarity.
And isn’t the coffee spillage just the very moment when we have to style it out? Isn’t life itself to be made all the richer, all the funnier, all the warmer because we make such a mess of it so much of the time? When we have to pretend the coffee spill, the lipstick on the chin, the stocking split, the mortifying misunderstanding, the hopeless vulnerability trousers-down-in-public-moment is just exactly how we planned it?
I can (eventually) laugh until I cry with most examples like these. Yet social media and its effect on society seems to have stolen from us the opportunity to flounder in our humanness. It allows for so little camaraderie of grace. We’re all so horrifyingly good at the snarky text and the sassy comeback.
Were you to see my teenage daughter’s Instagram stream, there no longer seems to be any room in friendship for mistakes or unknowing. Everyone knows everything about everyone all the time, and everyone’s got a really smart super quick comeback. So nothing deeper is ever allowed to emerge and grow. Nirvana today and Outer Mongolia tomorrow.
It’s not just teenagers either, I see it throughout all media. While technology allows us to communicate in a nano-second, we no longer seem to be allowed to take longer or to get it wrong. To take longer in our answers, or to recover gracefully from our mistakes. Politics is savage by nature but technology has armed it with an armageddon-esque lightsaber. Who is willing to give anyone a chance anymore?
So I’m going to mount a counter attack. Not to make fun of myself out of low self esteem, but to continue to expose and laugh at the ridiculousness of myself and my situation at my age. I’m a divorced mother back living with her parents! I have no long term plan, I’m surviving day to day! I haven’t got it together at all! I can’t even wear white! And I realise I am so willing to show that. For my own sanity and to model it for my anxiety-ridden kids, let alone in the hopes that it may comfort anyone else equally struggling with the reality of what it means to be alive.
Yesterday, I did brazen it out. I got lists checked, and laughed and cheered through an entire wedding faire of young couples on the brink of wedded eternal bliss. Right as I am inwardly bleeding out from the hideousness of a shattering divorce still so fresh I can taste it. I fought back tears as I tasted cakes and desserts and drinks and the canapés got stuck in my throat.
And MY GOD I looked fabulous while I was doing it! Coffee stains and all.
May the grace roll out before me.