The beautiful gilded antique mirror that was hand crafter over 100 years ago had arrived in my little shop over a century later but not without signs of age and wounds from traveling such a distance.
The once seemingly nearly flawless gilded mirror that I hunted down in Paris had endured some damage in its journey to Vancouver. It's always a risk I take when purchasing such fragile pieces but it's that very risk that makes these beautiful antique gilded mirrors such a prize. They have to be well loved to justify the expense and effort of their trip. There's nothing easy or even sensible about shipping pieces of Parisian history 7000+ kilometres to a city that trends towards contemporary boho chic design.
Seeing the corner of the mirror damaged felt like a stabbing in my heart but then I reminded myself that with enough love, nothing was beyond repair. This gorgeous mirror was one of my favourites and I wasn't going to let a shipping accident diminish the beauty that it had to offer.
It just so happens that I have one of the best artisan frame markers in North America in my treasured list of contacts and lucky for me, he was able to work wonders. In the traditional method, he meticulously repaired the mirrors chipped scroll. Not only that, he was able to restore pieces that had be fractured with age over the years to ensure that the fine details would be more stable for their next journey. He showed me parts that he pulled away and replaced with new and to the untrained eye, the surface looked fine but it was the deteriorating 100+ year old framers glue and flaking gold leaf that spoke of the hidden trouble.
What initially felt like a tragedy turned into a beautiful restoration.
Sometimes, it takes the pain of a little broken piece to see where there are other weakness that need to be addressed. It's the domino affect of restoration that so often plays a part of my journey both as an interior designer as well woman who is always striving to chase her dreams.
The thing is, the farther you journey, the greater the risk we have of breaking. We are all bound to experience some brokenness from time to time, especially when we put our hearts on the line. However, it doesn't mean that we are broken. We are the authors of our story and we alone can choose to embody a victim mentality and cry over missing pieces and fractures or we can be the victor who puts the in the work into restoring ourselves again.
I think the trick is to keep it real when you do. Don't simply put gold leaf over fractures to make others believe that you're ok. Sadly, we live in a society where everything is so overly filtered and we wonder why we get stuck striving for absolute perfection while feeling like we're always falling short. Let me remind you that it's OK not to be perfect.
It takes confidence and grace to show up completely as you are. It takes strength to be vulnerable.
I would personally take a beautiful antique Parisian mirror that has a little wear and tear over one that has been pristinely kept in a box. For me, the signs of wear are the echos of its authenticity; it's the slightly missing pieces of gold where you imagined that fingers once traced the beauty of the details that so elegantly hold the story of the mirrors history.
So remember when you're feeling a little worn from your ventures, know that it's just part of your journey. There's always an opportunity for restoration if you take sometime to give yourself a little TLC.