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  • VALIDATED

    by Beata Henrichs Lieb January 22, 2018

    VALIDATED

    From a correspondence with my brother from another mother - T. 

    T! Paris was fun. Great trip. I have a driver here, Herman, who drives me whenever I come to town. It’s nice because it seems I’m never here for very long and I can get a lot done. He loves movies. You've got to hear him talk about contemporary French cinema, it’s fucking hilarious. “The women... she is sad. She has the baby, she is alone, she struggles. But she is Parisian, she is strong. Over and over, this is the only story we have here in France today. Not like the Americans! You have movies like Forrest Gump." 

    Anyway it was another quick trip, but good. I pretty much only ate frois gras and drank a bunch of coffee for 3 days. I’m gonna go out on a limb here though -- I think the coffees in Spain are better! For real. 

    Maison + Object, the trade show we came to check out was good. They treated us super nice and invited us to design week this summer - so it was a win for ol’ HEDGEHOUSEUSA. I did notice a trend at the show, though; deco or regency style furniture was everywhere. Luxurious, rounded edges with mint colors and soft pink velvet upholstery. I guess the minimalist Norwegian shit is on its way out? I fucking hope so. Never really cared for that look myself, and was always ashamed to admit it. Like it was proof what an unsophisticated neophyte dum-dum I am. 

    My favorite thing I saw was a giant banana. It was the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen, and every time I look at the picture I laugh. I threw it up on Insta; I overdid the Insta a bit.  Actually, a lot... I know, I know, it’s lame, but I can’t help it. I love Insta. I love communicating with people. Even if I don't know them. Because I think underneath all the posturing and cropping and filters, we are all human and have a need to connect and that gives me a lot of hope. Even if 15 years gone I discover I was really only connecting with myself. Maybe the whole world was strung out on cocaine in the 70s and 80s trying to “connect” to each other, only to find out later they got addicted, rotted their brains out, and had to get into yoga! But I know you hate it. You're probably right. 

    Anyway NONE of that is why I’m writing you.

    I thought about what you said quite a bit from our last correspondence, about needing to be loved. It resonated with me in a way. “A need to be loved." What does he mean? So as I walked around Paris late at night succumbing to the jet lag I took that with me. And wouldn’t you know it, I had a brief text exchange with a friend that ignited all of that in me. Now, the exchange was meaningless to my friend. But for me, something about that exchange made me see very clearly.

    I have a need to be loved. And I got the feeling that my need is distorted. That it’s unhealthy. That I can use people or things to create a synthetic love. To feel good. To kill my loneliness and insecurities. So as I wandered the bright fluorescent aisles of Public’s Drugstore looking at books about Parisian cats and resisting the urges to buy miniature erasers in the form of ice cream sundaes, I started to take a look at how I don’t like to feel bad. And instead of just letting a bad feeling pass, I want “you” to take it. I need “you” to validate me. And when I don’t get that validation from “you,” that bad feeling pulls out its companion, it’s best friend  -- insecurity. And then they own me for as long as it takes. 

    “I have a need to be loved.” I start to say that over in my mind a few times and, before I know it, I’m halfway down to the wonder wheel at the other end of the Champs-Elysées thinking about my gardenia plant at home. It's strange how that plant has paralleled my life since its timely arrival in a such a way that I have stopped telling people about it, because I sound like a certifiable kook. But it’s unavoidable, and as “kooky” as it makes me sound, I can’t help but marvel at it. It’s been more of a mirror for me than a plant. So I start to trace the plant in my mind. 

    Starting with the rich green leaves attached to its long delicate branches. It’s occasional, staggeringly beautiful blooms that come in sets of two. I continue with my mind down to the branches connecting to its trunk. My mind's eye takes me under the rough exterior of the plant's torso, and inside to the light white/ green pulp. Its microscopic rings wrapping around on down, keeping time with each circle of a year. And, finally, into into the black soil and through the dark tangle of the twisted roots. Not nearly as beautiful as its above-ground segments, but responsible for its life force, nevertheless. And in those roots, as it pertains to me, what I saw was an insecurity that has been with me as long as I can remember. Slowly nourishing me with a steady diet of doubt, fear, nasty self-criticism, loneliness, and a desperate need to be loved. And I’m not talking about love affairs. I’m talking about validation. The need to feel validated -- which I have confused with love. Validation is not love. Validation is a shot in the arm, a rush. Validation. A quick, very good, warm feeling. But it’s not real. It’s a poisonous vapor, and it is Validation that is the co-conspirator of Self Will. Which is the opposite of Love. Love is simple. It’s obvious. It’s enduring. It’s not always kind, but it’s at least honest. And, like honesty, it’s free. 

    Love has nothing to do with my will, and, somewhere along the line, I got that all wrong. It got tangled up in my own form of root rot. 

    T!!! That fucking gardenia plant, man. I know what this must sound like! It sounds fucking absurd. And corny as hell! I get it. It’s like a poor man's “Being There,” but I can't help it - there’s something going on with me and that plant! And over here lost in Paris, running fast from a very bad feeling, there was that plant. I don’t know. I’m not going to keep droning on about it. I think you get the analogies of mirrors, roots, life force, blooms that come in pairs, etc. It just cheapens it, anyway, and I may be a lot of things but cheap is not one of them. 

    So even despite my own will to corner myself into a dark place in a beautiful city, I was able to look around and see that love is powerful, and despite what poisons I have taken in through my own roots, my nature, like that old plant's, is to live and to produce beautiful blooms now and again. My nature is to show love and to give love -- for no other reason than that it’s easy to do and it feels good. And that there is no room for self will in good feelings. There is no room for self will in love. Self Will is poisonous to my roots and self will will stop me from growing, and when I stop growing I die. And if I die - you might miss me. 

    So here’s to giant bananas, 24 hour drug stores, and gardenia plants. 

    Love you T xxx

    Maison & Objet

     

    Lene Bjerre

    Florirà un giardino

    Gabrielle Paris

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    Beata Henrichs Lieb
    Beata Henrichs Lieb

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