Let me read it to you…

it doesn't have to be beautiful

by Cynthia Berg

it doesn’t have to be beautiful

by | Jan 27, 2018

It doesn’t have to be beautiful. That’s what I tell myself on Tuesdays when I have to go back to work. My hair gets washed, but then wrangled into a slop-knot, soaking wet, on the back of my head. I exfoliate the face and slather on the moisturizer, a little lip gloss and if my sinuses are still weepy, I don’t bother with eyeliner or shadow. Mascara went by the wayside in a fit of rage about a year ago. Permission granted to never wear mascara again.

It doesn’t have to be beautiful. The quiche made with the remains of my weekly produce, how it cracked open while it baked, the 1/6th wedges falling apart as I transfer them to a plate. Let the house smell like hot breakfast for awhile. Let the coffee perc and the morning sun cast a slice of light across the floor. Let the cat find that spot and sit with her face turned up, eyes closed in meditation.

It doesn’t have to be beautiful. The house just needs to be clean before she comes. My mother is the better kitchen cleaner-upper, the faster pillow-caser. Don’t worry about beauty, just tend the cat hairballs tumbling into corners, last week’s chicken parmesan splatter in the microwave, the usual bathroom sanitation. Take the trash out, scoop the litter, but never mind the recycling, don’t worry about flowers at beside or too many magazines on the coffee table.

Let there be scratches on the floor, paint chipped in the stairwell from when the vintage dresser got moved upstairs, cracks in the plaster on the ceiling above the bed. Let the bulbs burn out from so much shining and let the spider spin webs in the corner of the closet because this is her home too. Don’t fix the cracked pane of glass in the front door. Let it be a reminder to be more gentle when closing doors.

It doesn’t have to be beautiful. The writing here can be messy and sideways and boring or trite. It can be ugly sometimes and aimless sometimes. Open the doors, let the words in – the familiar ones, the homeless ones too. Give space for dancing and stepping on toes. When you trip, laugh with endearing humanness. Spin, hop, repeat. Go on and on. Begin again.


Copyright Cynthia Berg 2018


  1. cynthia lee

    such good and true words . ..

    I think I’ve long held the mantra, it doesn’t have to be perfect. You know done is better than perfect. But this idea of it doesn’t have to be beautiful … because even if I let go of perfect as the standard, I think I still held beautiful as a too high standard.

    Thank you.

    • Cyn

      The irony is that I often find the ugly, dirty and broken things in life to be entirely beautiful. Life, minus all the striving, is actually full of gorgeous moments.

      Thanks so much for reading and sharing your words with me. xoxo


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