WHITNEY CAIN, PHD

BLOG

Too Much (a.k.a. Minimalism is for Wimps)

When I look at too many white walls, I realize my Aunt Dot’s guiding principle in décor, clothing, and compliments – “unless it’s a steak, it’s not done til it’s overdone” – has powerfully influenced my aesthetics.  I’m attracted to the design trends toward minimalism, but I can’t help missing a puddled, printed drape, a faux finish, and a few too many tchotchkes.   

Some friends and I were discussing the move toward simplicity in fashion and home design (very eruditely, mind you) when one piped up, “You know, you can handle more patterns than you think.”  And she’s right, but not only about design and décor.

Don’t misunderstand, I do think there is a tipping point.  I thought Aunt Dot looked like a movie star in her fox fur and heels, but I can see they were a bit much for the office.  Likewise, the mirrors covering two-thirds of her apartment walls were a statement, but I’m not sure the gold lamé covering the other third added anything.

So yes, there can be too much, and this applies equally to upholstery and life’s challenges.  I call phooey on the adage you’re never given more than you can handle.  There are absolutely times when our struggles are too heavy to bear.  But, mercifully, most of us won’t have to meet those too heavy burdens all on our own.  There will be others who help us carry them and make space for us to figure out how to stand up again.  Plus, we’ll put to use the powerful resilience we can forget we have. 

With others’ good love, our own resilience, and maybe a touch of faith in something bigger than what we know, the losses and pain are tolerable.  They are nestled in just enough comfort, hope, and grace to let us find our way; not necessarily through them or despite them, but certainly alongside them.  Then we realize too much was a lot – sometimes a whole, whole, unwanted lot, but not too much.  The proof is we are right here.

Makes you want to wallpaper something, doesn’t it?

***

Photo Credit:  Mariamichelle.  (7/4/2016).  Gritti Palace in Venice, Italy.  Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/venice-italy-gritti-palace-ornate-1606928/