Peg Legs and Embracing Imperfections

My suitcase has a peg leg and it reminds me that imperfections are beautiful.

It’s the biggest suitcase I own, and it doesn’t get much use since most of the trips I take are quick weekend getaways. But when I pulled it out of the closet for a big trip last month, I was pleased to see that its wooden leg was still intact.

What happened is that I have long had a problem with owning too many books. I buy them faster than I can read, hold onto them long after I’ve finished them, and like to use them as temporary and portable furniture (end tables, laptop platforms, shelves for other books).

I also don’t have a great special awareness of things like size and weight.

So when it was time for me to leave college, I took my big suitcase and loaded it full of books. I figured since it had wheels, the only real challenge would be lifting it into the trunk. One trip over the curb and one of the suitcase’s sturdy plastic feet broke clean off.

I was completely stunned! Not to mention embarrassed about my packing skills and mad about my new suitcase being broken.

But my dad got a block of wood, shaped it to match the other foot, painted it black, and screwed it into the base of the suitcase. It stabilized the suitcase and blended right in.

That’s a suitcase with a peg leg.

And that’s not all

Ten years later, it’s still holding up just fine. And more than that, it makes me smile every time I see it—especially when I spot it at the baggage claim and know immediately that that red suitcase, out of all the others that look just like it, is mine.

It’s so easy to see memes with messages like “imperfections make things/life/you beautiful” or “no one is perfect but everyone is enough” and feel the sentiment go in one ear and out the other. Of course, no one is perfect. But then we keep trying to be perfect.

It’s not just that the wooden leg on my suitcase makes it useable. It makes me love it.

And when I realize that, I start to notice other imperfections that I don’t just tolerate but actively appreciate.

That I own more books than I can realistically read.

That I usually need about 15 minutes of spinning absentmindedly in my chair before I can get down to writing.

The weird crimp in my bangs that shows up whether I straighten, curl, or shave my hair.

It’s all good!

Leave a Reply