I arrived home last night quite exhausted. I made it a gentle evening, and crashed out quite early. I slept well and deeply, and woke comfortably to the alarm. In all regards, quite a nice way to finish off a challenging work day and move on. I woke this morning having forgotten about the closet doors. When I moved in, there were no closet doors at all. They were still on order and not yet installed. They arrived, and were installed yesterday (with the exception of the closet door in my bedroom, at my request). I had inspected the work when I arrived home, and not given it another thought. This morning I awoke without having closet doors in mind, and was a bit startled when I stepped into the studio to write… closet door. Big broad, vast, visually impressive, white sliding closet door… across the entire end of the room, where previously the shelves with my art gear, and the top shelf with not-yet-unpacked breakables sit safely, had been ‘part of the view’ since I moved in. It was a bit odd. Different. More… ‘finished’.

I find myself thinking about ‘finishing touches’ generally, you know – those items, tasks, elements, and moments that really round out an event or experience in a way that feels ‘complete’ and satisfying, or fulfills some specific aesthetic. Love, too, has some opportunities for ‘finishing touches’ – and that could be quite a literal thing, as with tender contact, touches, and afterplay following sex, or something deeper – like the unexpected love note days later, found tucked away somewhere undiscovered, found in passing during a difficult moment, filling a tense emotional space with love and recognition. Finishing touches seem to be more about an awareness, a perception, than about the thing themselves… and I continue to contemplate finishing touches as I sip my coffee.

Reflecting on a turn of phrase or a metaphor provides new perspective.

Reflecting on a turn of phrase or a metaphor provides new perspective.

There are ‘finishing touches’ along the far reaches of the negative spectrum of my emotional experience, although I generally don’t call them ‘finishing touches’ so much as ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ or ‘the deal breakers’. The ‘finishing touch’ on my first marriage was how my spouse treated his son, and his mother (in both cases, badly). The finishing touch on the long-term relationship that followed was a complex singularity – an evening of trampled boundaries, disregard, unexpected violence, inconsiderate nastiness, and intimidation; it was a hell of a finish, no doubt, and quite a sudden cascade of deal breakers in one seemingly endless evening. The finishing touch on a relationship that followed – a ‘long term’ relationship characterized after-the-fact by its brevity (less than 3 years), was the development of a peculiarly chronic neglect, disregard, and emotional weaponry launched by a mentally ill partner; I was in no shape to provide the support she needed, and I needed day-to-day simple decency from a disordered partner unable to provide that to anyone, in any relationship (at that time). When I think of those events in the positive terms of ‘finishing touches’ rather than the negative terms of ‘deal breakers’ and ‘last straws’, I find myself feeling more settled and content with the way things turned out; it makes sense that those relationships ended, and the events that finished them off do settle things, in a fairly ‘completed’ and ‘finished’ way, providing a ‘why it makes sense’ that they ended. I find myself aware that a ‘finishing touch’ is a form of closure – and it is found within, requiring no assistance from another party, no ‘last words’, no ‘parting gift’, no give and take; it belongs to me, and exists as part of my own understanding of myself, and the context of my life in which I exist. The ‘finish’ of a finishing touch is a perception, and as such, also beyond the realm of argument, requiring no validation. 🙂

The closet doors do result in a more finished look here, generally. The paintings hanging in the hallway provide a similar sense of things being ‘complete’ and ‘finished’. It feels comfortably grown up, and properly a residence, in a way that differs slightly from #27, which I so recently adored, and moved from. It is a similar feeling to moving from the barracks as a young soldier, into housing ‘on the economy’, or moving from a college dorm, into a ‘real apartment’. My previous apartment was set up for artistic live/work…but so small and compact that it was very nearly a studio apartment, and felt rather like a spacious bedroom sometimes. This new space feels very like a house, from the inside, and having separated my studio and creative work space from the rest of the residential spaces, also very comfortable… and sometimes strange. It seems more… finished. I’m still getting used to it, and sometimes find myself simultaneously delighted and vaguely uncomfortable with the spaciousness, or feeling both relieved and uneasy to have it generally all to myself. I remember as I write those words that growth itself often feels very uncomfortable indeed. I smile. I am okay with where I am in life; that feels really good.

Begin again; the finishing touch in one moment becomes a cherished reminder of the beginning for another.

Begin again; the finishing touch in one moment becomes a cherished reminder of the beginning for another.

The leisure morning at home nears its end. I notice when I check the clock. Finishing touches are possible here, too; there is time for some housekeeping, and those are the finishing touches on my morning that become my beautiful welcome home at the end of a long work day. 🙂 It’s a very good day to treat the woman in the mirror well, and to live my values authentically. It’s a very nice day for finishing touches.