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Honoring the Frayed Edges

I recently bought some new drapery panels for my office. I’ve had my eyes on these drapes for a while now, but by the time I finally got around to hitting the “purchase now” button on my shopping cart, they’d been discontinued. As fortune would have it, I found them on eBay for a fraction of the cost.

The only problem is that the length of the panels is about 8 inches shorter than what I need. I figured it would be easy enough to find some trim I could attach to the bottom to lengthen them a bit.

After a bit of time roaming about the world wide web, I learned that it would be very simple to take out the hem, releasing an additional 4 inches of fabric, leaving only a 4-inch gap to fill with trim. Mission accomplished.

Except for actually, not quite yet.

I made it as far as letting out the hem several weeks ago. Or has it been months? Who even knows anymore. And so, for now, my lovely new panels remain, with their freshly frayed edges, suspended 4 inches, more or less, above the floor.

Noticing them again today, their status seems emblematic of the current state of things around me. There are my books – both ones that I’m writing and ones that I’m reading, stacked about. Loose papers and spiral binders are similarly suspended in their lack of progress. There are sketches, work projects, house projects, to-do lists…all in various states of completeness. Or perhaps better stated, their lack thereof. It’s as if the force of momentum was frozen midstream, and everything fell into a deep sleep while posturing for my attention.

Looking at my drapes, I consider the idea that there may be some honesty in their approach – the way they proudly allow their frayed edges to be visible as they stretch toward the floor.

It seems we’ve all been a little frayed around the edges lately. A little less patient, a little quicker to fire, a little more in tune with the imaginary line supporting the illusion of our separation into pockets of right and wrong, good and bad, worthy and unworthy…

Perhaps I’m more taken by this idea of proud frayed edges because I put a premium on things being “properly” finished. Perhaps it’s because that state of being complete equates to quality in my inner narrative.

I have noticed that similar edging has been making an appearance this season in higher-end clothing lines. There are jeans and sweatshirts and even silk blouses whose ends ravel into nothingness. On a side note, I’ve never quite understood why buying something in a state of deconstruction would cost more than something with nice, finished edges.

Oops, there’s that inner narrative pushing that value of completeness message again. Perhaps it would serve me to invest in a pair of those high-end jeans with their frayed edges as a way to shift my mindset – to find value in letting things be a little more raw. More natural. More real.

I do see ways these edges bring value. My great grandmother’s linen pillowcases, with their hand-embroidered flowers and monograms are a great example. The way their threads pull and separate in the spaces where a cheek may have rested fills me with a profound sense of connection, these sweet hollows a great tribute to those who came before me.

There are also the ways I appreciate people’s rough edges, and the way they are able to move through life unapologetically themselves, causing no harm but deeply leaning into their own inner callings.

Truth be told, I think that if it weren’t for the good job my skin does at keeping my insides all inside, I’d consist of more frayed edges than not. Although if you know me well, you’d probably be able to notice them even with my skin on.

On me, these edges can show up in my intonation. For example, I’ll still be delighted to see you, but the joy in my greeting is slightly subdued. You might see it in my eyes too. Lately, I can only hold a twinkle for a few minutes, before my heart strings pull my mind back to the other stuff. The heavier stuff. The impossible to solve stuff.

That’s the nature of things, I guess. Edges will always fray over time, through use and experience, from holding new life, and from letting others go. From living.

And so for now, it feels okay to just let my drapes be. I’ll let the stacks of papers on my desk be. I’ll let the projects and the dreams and the goals be. For now, I’ll let myself just be. Frayed edges and all.


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