It was late afternoon, and we were sitting at a nook in our Parisian hotel room, looking at a wall fully decorated with beautifully painted plates.
“I’m going to eat on that one,” I pointed at a plate with a painting of a cat on it. “Which one would you prefer?”
He looked at me as if I were crazy. “Well, I think I am going to choose that one,” he pointed at the one with the frog painting. “But, come on, you don’t eat on those plates!”
“Because,” he shrugged, definitely thinking that any sane person would clearly know the reason why. “Because those are not eating plates. Those are, like, really beautiful plates. And not to mention that they are bloody expensive!”
“All the more reason to eat on them, don’t you think? In the end, they are what they are, right? They are plates. Why can’t I eat on beautiful and expensive plates?”
Yes. I can be stubborn at times.
About a year ago, I started using my beautiful plates.
Well, those were actually inherited plates–some China and vintage Delft Holland–passed on from generation to generation; usually only to be left gathering dust in the cabinet or to be hung proudly on the living room wall; not really sure about what kind of impression they should make. And we’re not only talking about plates. We’re also talking about flower vases, teapots, and teacups, as well as something like butter dishes.
One day, I simply washed them all (a serious washing involved due to more-than-a-decade excessive dust-gathering) and started using them.
I make garlic and cheese butter and place it on the beautiful butter dish to be used every morning as a spread on my bread. I boil my green tea inside the elegant tea pot and sip it slowly from the gorgeously decorated floral teacup. I use the blue and white ceramic vintage plate for my scrambled egg.
It does feel nice, to eat from beautiful plates or drink tea from beautiful teacups. And right now, I do feel alright (and happy) to use them up on a daily basis instead of storing them away or keeping them as decorative items. Yes, I have to admit that at first, I felt a bit guilty. And undeserving. And scared.
Am I supposed to do this? This is too good. Do I deserve this? This is too beautiful for me. What if I broke it?
But where do we actually start getting the idea that something can be too good for us? Are we actually being taught to lower our expectations and not have too high of a hope or to have big dreams–simply because someone is trying to protect us from hurt, failure, or disappointment that may lurk behind us?
He’s-just-too-kind-for-me is something I heard from a lot of women (and I might be guilty of using this nonsense once or twice in my previous relationships years ago–when I didn’t know better). In that sense, what are we implying with those words? Are we thinking that we’re so undeserving to be treated kindly? How often do we lessen ourselves to the point where we decided that we’re okay settling for less and lowering our standards only to please others?
Other times, I guess we’re doing it to protect ourselves–our hearts, our dreams, our hopes, our memories. We’re thinking about storing them away in someplace safe or hanging them on the wall for everyone to see–but not to touch. We’re too afraid of making failures or breaking our hearts or humiliating ourselves or looking vulnerable because then we’re going to get hurt, and then we’re not going to be perfect anymore (not to say that we are/were, ever).
Maybe we’re afraid that we’re not going to be those beautiful decorative plates that are being admired by everyone anymore–because the fact is when we’re no longer becoming a decorative item in life–just like those plates; we’re going to break or decay or our colors may get washed out after some times.
I made some Italian spices butter this morning and stored them in the beautiful butter dish. Every time I see it as I’m about to spread it on my bread, it becomes a great reminder for me to be brave and to not settle for less. To know that I am deserving of wonderful things, great experiences, amazing life, and comforting love; to believe that nothing is too good or too beautiful for me, and nothing is too good or too beautiful for you, too.
You deserve it.
And starting tomorrow, I hope you’re having your meal on a beautiful plate.