For the love of God…I mean vintage. And it really can be that big, that spiritual, that all encompassing. And for Tessa Miller it really is.
I recently spent 3 days with this boss lady, taking pictures, talking life, sorting through the oft frazzled, frantic and chaotic corners of ourselves and her shop. And I left with a better understanding of why I should be spending more time with her (and shopping in her store for that matter). Tessa Miller is quirky. Not pseudo quirky, not mainstream cool quirky, not ‘I run a vintage store because that’s what people like’ quirky. But real, authentic ‘I own a needlepoint puppy dog foot stool because I totally love it’ quirky. She breathes it, sweats it, talks-the-walk-and-walks-the-talk vintage-to-her-bones kind of quirky. And we all need that. We all need something unique to pull us through the trenches of the homogeneity of the American mainstream. We need a strong dose of real life people to bring out the best in ourselves.
Over the course of a few days, I saw this woman in multiple different scenarios—from complete strangers’ homes picking up vintage furniture, to her own home playing with her kid, and to her store interacting with customers and I can’t say I saw a difference at all. She oozed dignity. She was personable and loving and treated everyone like her best friend. And I loved every minute of that. Because we all want—no, need—to be treated like that; to be listened to and touched on the shoulder and smiled at. To be valued for no other reason than that we all are human, and being human means we need to be connected to other humans on whatever level we are capable of. And, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with all of that, until today. Because today, I resolved to spend more time with people like her.
I’m typically not one for New Year’s Resolutions, especially not the type that involve strict lists of ‘to do’s’ and ‘not to do’s’. But, I do place a lot of value on analyzing the past and letting it inform the future. And on that note, what better time for that than a new year? It’s been a crapshoot of a year for me. Maybe a little—no, a lot—like a pinball machine, running into and reacting to bumpers and hazards and circumstances with blinging lights, loud outbursts and sometimes even that weird jolting thing those machines do. I’ve let too many things slip right between the flippers and haven’t had enough energy to make it up the ramp for the bonus ball.
After a good long weekend with Tessa, though, I realized most of that is because I was playing alone in an empty arcade, feeding quarters into a machine that couldn’t spit anything back out but noise. And with that, I’ve resolved to spend more time with the incredible people in my life. To fill myself with the depth of interactions that come from real, authentic and quirky friends. I often tell my teenage son, “We are who we hang out with.” And, apparently, it takes working weekends and a new year celebration to realize that I need to take my own hint.
So, cheers to a year filled with people who lift you up; to people who don’t judge you by your clutter; to people who invite you in to their messy rooms and let you play with their pajama-crazed-bed-jumping toddlers; to people who give their all to making something new out of something old; to people who encourage you to live a full, happy story; to people who defy the mainstream antics with dignity, humanity and enough quirkiness to push us into a new year with a hopeful smile on our face.