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  • Laura Packard

Fixer Upper

Lowcountry Weekly



Everywhere you look these days, it seems something needs fixing. And this something not only needs to be fixed but also must be flipped, fluffed, inflated, puffed up, “pinterested”, and embellished. It’s as if nothing is good enough… as is. Now, I am not talking about fixing a leak in the faucet, a hole in the wall, an engine that stalls, or an appliance that hiccups. And I’m not even speaking of finding, no scouring, for the diamond in the ruff; scrubbing it up, rinsing it off and displaying it on the proverbial shelf of pride in one’s work. There is value and a certain thrill in discovering the forgotten and misplaced and showing it a little love. It’s just these days it seems every blessed thing must be made into a more appealing, cooler, high tech, extra unique, and user-friendly version of itself. Instead of sleeping under the stars, LED lights will light up the night in your very own bedroom. No need to leave the air-conditioned house or stay up late; glow sticks, when broken and scattered into mason jars, will look like the fireflies you would catch on a hot summer night of your youth. Fancy expensive soy candles in re-purposed old jars, when lit, will instantly remind you of a walk in the woods under balsams or the amber tobacco smell of your dad’s old hand-carved wooden pipe. And it’s not only stuff. We tend, these days, to sort out among the unattractive, the plain, the pored, the pocked, and the garish for the “good bones,” not just found in homes, furniture, and fixtures, but in people, as well. The ones we perceive have “it” deep down inside somewhere, they just need a little help to look a little thinner, a little better, a little prettier, and a more polished version of themselves.  But why must we search for only the good bones so we can uncover them and then cover them back up again . . . merely to be uncovered by someone else later who then does the same thing only with shinier and slicker, more expensive paint? Whatever happened to beauty is as beauty does? The concept that beauty is found in the deed, the action, the very idea that true beauty is eternal or is “truth” as Keats would say, that it will last long after we are gone… not the primed, primped, and glossed up version of its’ very own essence put on display as something it isn’t. That is, the kind of temporary beauty that fades way too fast like the woodsy scented smoke of pipe tobacco hurriedly man-made into a sticky wax. And speaking of today, it seems if we are going to wax, we must wax poetic and with great purpose while not offending anyone, of course. We must sound important and educated and influential; it’s not so much about the content which we speak of, but how well it eloquently drips off the tongue no matter the meaning or insult. AND for god sakes when waxing, exfoliate first, especially when following up with a self-tanner with a 300 SPF only to stay out of the sun. And if we are lucky to live long enough to earn the age-old cracks, creases, and crevices, we must find a way to file them down and fill them back up. It’s as if saying there is nothing to see here, move on, be on your way . . . no wait, stay, look at me, don’t I look young? Turning 45 in a month, I can’t help wonder about how much more “fixing” I need to do, how many more lessons I must learn, how many more goals I must set, and how much more anti-aging cream I must apply (nightly, lightly and in a circular motion) to feel comfortable in my very own skin. When do we stop fixing and start to feel content? Bone deep. Without the extras. It reminds me of our beloved fictional character, Forrest Gump, who said with the utmost sincerity, “Simple is as simple does.” Broken down in the simplest of terms, why do we continually make things, or a life well-lived, more complicated than it needs to be? Or in other layman’s terms: leave well enough alone, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix; love the skin you’re in. Maybe when we do finally stop trying to fix everything, including ourselves, we begin to finally understand nothing was broken in the first place and a happy life is just that, a steady and continually shining, beautifully bright blueprint that knows no beginning or end. Therein lies the beauty. Life only happens if you truthfully and wholeheartedly live it, not manufactured, but moment to moment. Maybe it’s as simple as that, after all?

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