Among the many fascinating and sharp comments on last week’s icebreaker post, Erin wrote: “I am the best version of myself in the fall.” So many of you write with such poised self-awareness, and comments like this feel spring-loaded in the best possible way: those ten words might contain years of a spiraling search for self. Such comments come to me, tadpole-like: a small, well-formed anterior with a diaphanous, long tail. They bring to mind these words from Toni Morrison:
“The difficulty for me in writing—among the difficulties—is to write language that can work quietly on a page for a reader who doesn’t hear anything. Now for that, one has to work very carefully with what is in between the words. What is not said. Which is measure, which is rhythm, and so on. So, it is what you don’t write that frequently gives what you do write its power.”
Just to say — reading some of your well-turned comments last week (and always!) gestured at the depths to which you have plumbed to know yourselves.
I am curious, though: when are you the best version of yourself? Have you given that prompt much thought?
My answer came quickly. I feel my best — my full self, my whole being — when I am with my husband, and I am certain it is because I feel wholly loved by him.
But what does “at my best” mean? I intuitively think – “full-fat, whole milk.” But maybe it means “when I am most at service to others” or “most creative” or or or —
What do you think?
If we follow my intuition, I continue to think I am at my best when with Landon. He follows me to every turret and gate in my personality and meets me there. You would think that after being together for nearly twenty years (!), we would know one another so well as to be able to take shortcuts in these meanderings, but no: there is always, with him, a surprise, and he affords me the same latitude. He keeps me on my toes in a way that leaves me honest, agile, and curious, and at the same time motivated to explore the full range of my emotions and thoughts. (I can change — And he will meet me there, too!) I feel sometimes that I self-mediate too much in my interactions with others: I am always hyper-aware of how other people are reacting and receiving my energy, and sometimes this alertness thwarts an authentic exchange. But Mr. Magpie brings out the most stripped-down, guileless, authentic version of myself. (It seems like it has always been this way, but is it really the benefit of time and age?)
How about you? So as not to bait the question, your answer might be wildly different: tethered to a place, or a phase of life, or an actual season (c.f. Erin’s comment), or a time of day, or none of those things. I did briefly think about mentioning that I felt like a better version of myself while pregnant with my son. There was something about that pregnancy that filled me with uncharacteristic serenity. I remember walking through New York while expecting him and feeling like I was absolutely floating through my day, anointed with an unearned grace. Which is, you know, saying a lot because New York has a habit of battering you around and showing you who’s boss. (I am here reminded of a fantastic New Yorker comic sketch of a haggard looking man staggering into his apartment and his wife saying: “Who won today, you or New York?”).
How about you?
+Speaking of NYC: it is still a shock.
+”Put differently: I am only half living when we are apart. The other half is suspended in anticipatory conversation, waiting for the moment when I can fill you in.” (From miscellaneous reflections on 10 years of marriage.)
+Many of you love this post on Mr. Magpie’s Jeep. His foil and ferry.
+Things that mattered to me at 18. (Almost none of which matter now.)
+This wrap coat is so unexpected in that sky blue. I have a mauvey-lilac-pink coat from years ago that I get compliments on ALL the time. It is so unusual and fun to see a statement coat!
+Speaking of unexpected: these Gucci sneaks do all the talking for you.
+ADORE this cropped, hot pink cardigan. (Still on a hot pink kick — I bought this hot pink sports bra (more sizes with no discount here) from Beyond Yoga and it sparks major joy for me. Do I need the matching shorts?!)
+OBSESSED with the colors of these Nike sneaks.
+These are the absolute best sticker books for little girls. So detailed and whimsical, and the vignettes on the pages are always exciting for mini.
+These little bow bags are BEYOND adorable.
+This waffle sweater in the pink is a YES! (At time of writing, under $40!)
+Gap released its “big shirt” in some great stripes/colors. I kind of like the patchwork one? So wild and chic. With white jeans?
+OMG — Sunhouse Children has some seriously cute new items out.
+This four pack of toddler leggings in the neutral/pink/ditsy are a great starting point for a spring wardrobe.
+Loving all the bright/bold table linens from Summerill.
+These heart sneakers for children are on sale and SO cute!
+Just love this floral dress from The Great.
+This $24 cardigan for a little has been a big hit/help this season. It goes with SO much in mini’s wardrobe and is a nice quality for the price. Would be great heading into spring!
+Eyeing these pants for spring/summer. I have been trying, the last few years, to get out of my denim rut and wear different types of trousers/bottoms! These feel so chic.
+This tiny eyelet set in the khaki!
+And this floral raincoat!!!
+This crisp Rosie Assoulin dress is like 70% off. SO chic.