Gigi was one of the earliest movies I remember watching - along with My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music - and sometimes the messages one picks up at a very young age can shape, mold, and bear influence over the course of a lifetime. I found Gigi's youthful frustrations so refreshing - indeed why so much obsession with romance? Maybe it's just my Cancerian tendencies, but part of me could hole up in my house and live the most blissfully solitaire life, loving music, books, art, literature, and the endless works of wonder that have been contributed over time. Yet society tends to cast a shadow of scorn on the single life, cloaking it in a shroud of undesirability that makes the pursuit of romance something of a necessary sport, akin to a required class like gym or health or drivers ed. And that's when some people settle for what's easy, or seems to make sense at the moment, and find themselves still secretly searching in quiet desperation. I want to go back to embracing the brave loners - the ones who are comfortable and find joy in their own company - believing with conviction that love is an unexpected gift, stumbled upon when looking in the opposite direction.
Or as Gaston (featured below) realizes with an utter start of shock that the love of his life has been right under his nose all along - she's the unnerving little pest who exasperates and irritates and makes him lose his temper most of all - but her absence is even more unbearable. Okay, so there's a touch of a Lolita vibe to his awakening that rings a bit creepy in 2010, but let's make allowances for the changing times - I've always thought that this is how true love should be discovered - right under your nose all along, but unexpectedly blossoming and catching you completely off your guard.
I imagine the discovery of something familiar, yet renewed and therefore completely foreign at the same time, would be the most romantic love of all.
Search through attics, through Lane cedar chests, through your childhood bedrooms - do whatever it takes to find the books, the dolls, the photographs, the mementos of treasured moments that mean the most to you, and place them in new frames, in new homes, in new environments. I am the girl who will always love The Velveteen Rabbit. When I love someone, they're even more beautiful to me when they've lost the initial luster; I give all of my heart seldomly, but when I do the love is evergreen. Yes, hands down this would be my choice over the best looking or the flashiest or the one "that makes sense." That's all nonsense. Love only the ones who fill you with wonder and let everyone else worry about the titles and what fits best. Back to A only cares about one opinion. It's peace. Total liberation. Back to A is about filling my home, and eventually my life, with items and people I hold closest to my heart. . .
. . .beginning, of course, with my parents:
The frames are a lot of fun and can be purchased here for an aburdly cheap price - they come in packs of four:
But the photographs - with my mother at Playhouse Nursery School in New Delhi where she used to teach, and then with my father at age one in the front garden of my grandfather's home - are, as the American Express ad campaign would say, priceless. They are my favorite photographs of my parents because they capture the essence of my relationship with each one - with my mother a direct engagement with laughter and lots of noise and fun and and joy, and then with my father as we sit silently together, looking in different directions - most people, even the two of us at times, can easily miss a connection that is both absolute and tender. There are worlds of profundity in silence.
So there, in cheap plastic frames which I happen to think are whimsical and kinda awesome, are moments from my past that continue to teach me what love is, and the kind of joy and connection I hope will surprise me one day - in the same way it surprises Gaston - unexpectedly and absolutely wonderfully. I could never settle for anything less.
* A special thank you to my new friend Gigi Stone, who reads my novice decor site every day despite being an incredibly busy correspondent and anchor for Bloomberg TV. She reminded me just the other day of a movie that has always been a part of me, but bloomed again with her revelation that her mother named her after the unforgettable Gigi in the film.