My Life Was Nearly Destroyed By an Eames Chair

When I used to envision my ideal life, a key part of the fantasy involved acquisition of a piece of iconic mid-century furniture design – an Eames chair.

Officially entitled “Eames Lounge (670)”, these chairs can run into the multiple thousands of dollars and are much sought after items by a certain demographic – a demographic that I wished desperately to be part of.

There were other key parts of this ideal life, a life that was specifically designed to negate my impoverished, violent upbringing – a tall, attractive husband with a monosyllabic name, a spacious, boxlike home in a good neighbourhood, matching his-and-his German automobiles, a duo of Weimaraner dogs…this list went on and on.

There was always this obsession about the Eames, though.

Somehow, I reasoned, that if I could just get an Eames chair, that the rest of my life would fall into place. As if this beautiful chair was the magical fulcrum around which this imaginary, ideal life would pivot.

What happened instead was a 15 year spiral into addiction and insanity.

In an ineffective attempt to erase the pain and embarrassment of broken childhood I pursued fleeting pleasures and fleeting people.

I gained weight and lost weight.

I dyed my hair.

I pierced and tattooed my body.

I went to universities.

I got different jobs.

I went on and off different diets.

I dated different men.

I did different drugs.

I moved to city after city running from myself and my demons only to repeat the ever worsening cycle.

Nothing worked.

There was always the obsession with the Eames chair, though.

Whether I was living in an apartment or a car or a tent or nowhere, this obsession was always with me. In certain ways it was a constant, a comfort – it may have even carried me – this idea that if I were to obtain this talisman that everything would be ok.

That it would take away my feelings of inadequacy.

That it would heal the fractured and flawed childhood.

That it would allow me access into a social group I felt I needed to be part of.

That it would erase every part of my life, my history and myself that I though was unacceptable, embarrassing, useless or shameful.

As you may have guessed, the Eames chair never appeared.

What did appear was a sequence of events and people that resulted in me getting clean and sober and beginning a new way of life that embraced and learned from adversity and disappointment instead of denying and avoiding it.

This obsession with the Eames chair has, for the most part, abated.

In its place stands a lesson I learned early in my new life: nothing I can touch, get, buy, feel, fuck or possess can complete or save me – this is the most horrible truth.

What is the takeaway from this?

I don’t know if there is one.

There is however, certainty that given sufficient work, time and intention that change and redemption is possible, even for the most desperate and entrenched circumstances.

That works for me today.


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