The Parable of the Red Sofa


Once upon a time there was a woman who had been raised to be practical. Her college major needed to be practical, her purchases needed to be practical. Everything had to have a purpose. Just wanting it or liking it was not enough of a reason; there had to be a story of reasons why. “Just because” or “because I like it” or “because it makes me happy” wasn’t enough.

This woman grew up, and spent a large part of herself and her energy trying to make everyone else happy. The one person who wasn’t happy?

The woman.

One day, as they so often happen in fairy tales, her world fell apart. As sad as it is when a world ends, there is also the hope of new beginning. Slowly she began to shape her world in a way that supported and delighted her. She learned that having something because it made her happy was the best reason to have an object.

She learned that practicality was overrated, as it so often is. As practical as this woman had learned to be, was there room for the magic in the practical? Was there room for things that served a purpose but made her happy?

Slowly but surely she began to rebuild her world. This time, it was created in her image. A beautiful mid-century modern desk in perfect condition and bought for a song. Pictures that inspired her and made her smile every time she gazed at them.

Then it came time for a Real Adult Purchase. Furniture, the first she had ever bought on her own. She found two sofas within her price range. One was gray: would hide dirt, had a chaise lounge on one side, and would fit her space. It was Practical.

The other was a red, mid-century modern style large sofa. Although it didn’t have the chaise on one side, it did have a chaise chair as an option. She debated. A red sofa makes a big statement. A red sofa says, “I like what I like and I’m not afraid of it.” A red sofa is not a sofa you can hide behind.

The woman debated, and struggled, and sighed. Her brain said “practical” and her heart said “the red one.” So she asked her Fairy Actual Mother, an interior designer and a woman of exquisite, although normally opposite, tastes. She sent her photos, and sent her additional pictures of the curtains she envisioned going with it.

To the woman’s surprise, Fairy Actual Mother loved her vision and loved the colors as much as the woman had. The apple had not fallen far from the tree.

The woman was still not convinced. She was still afraid to be bold and daring. She was afraid to pick out a piece of furniture that was so loud. After a lifetime of being told she was too loud, too boisterous, too daring, who the hell was she to have a red sofa?

She carried these thoughts to her dear friend, a Nagini in human form. She lovingly and gently told the woman how silly she was being and encouraged the woman to follow her heart.

After all, the Nagini was lounging on a red sofa of her very own.

The woman gathered up her courage, took herself in her carriage to the furniture store, and confidently told the salesman that she would like to see the Red Sofa. As soon as she sat down on the sofa, her heart sang. It was just as beautiful and comfortable as she imagined. The chaise chair was equally beautiful.

Forty-five minutes later, furniture was purchased, and the woman drove home, excited about her new purchase. She was also covered in a few hives, but those are inconsequential.

For she decided to live bravely and boldly, and to retell her story in a much better way.

She decided that she is EXACTLY the type of woman who should have a Red Sofa.


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