Things I love more than my couch…

by P. Braithwaite

The answer is: nothing.

My couch is probably my favorite material possession in the entire world. It’s a surprisingly comfortable Ikea couch that has a built-in chaise lounge. It has machine washable couch covers so that, if stained, they can be easily cleaned. It was love at first sit. I lounged in it for over 30 minutes in Ikea.

I really love my couch.

When I come home from work, I immediately take off my pants and sit on my couch. Piles of jeans and slacks collect in front of the TV. During Hurricane Sandy, I envisioned myself floating peacefully down the Brooklyn Queens Expressway on my couch (asleep). Oddly, I found this image comforting.

The other day, while taking a depression nap on my couch, I decided that, in lieu of a traditional casket, I’d like to be buried on my couch. I really love my couch.

I swear, this post has a point.

Two days after I first got my couch, I was messing with a decorative candle and some ash from the wick stained one of my couch cushions. It was a spot. It was the size of a pin, but I was distraught. I tried scratching the spot out with my nail, I tried scrubbing the stain out with a Brillo pad (that made it worse), I washed the couch cover until it shrank (luckily I was still able to stuff the cushion inside of it). I even tried turning the cushion inside out (that looked stupid).

I had this brand new couch, in my first big-girl apartment, and I could see nothing but this stupid stain. I could think of nothing else. I shed tears and priced new covers online. As far as I was concerned, my couch was ruined. My entire apartment was ruined. I was an idiot who ruined everything I touched.

Four months later, and after countless house guests, no one has ever noticed or mentioned the stain– not even my hyper-vigilant and moderately critical mother (hi mom). Most days I forget it even happened.

I’m over it, but I do keep a Tide-To-Go pen nearby.

The memory of my obsession makes me think about how we ruin our own happiness by fixating on small imperfections. We pop pimples that turn into scabs, we pick scabs until they become scars, we focus on small problems until the cover all that is good. We let a tiny stain cloud all of our accomplishments. We let what’s wrong overshadow what is right.

I had to learn to ignore the spot on my couch. I had to realize that it wasn’t so bad. I also had to spill spaghetti sauce on the couch, and fall asleep with chocolate in my hands and accidentally touch a pillow. I had to deal with bigger stains before I realized how small the original stain really was.

Today, I try to remember all of the good that exists around me. There will always be a spot somewhere — a teeny weeny stain on an otherwise fabulous life. My task is to clean up what I can, and enjoy my surroundings no matter what.

What small stains are overshadowing your amazing life?