The pristine images stream across social media and finely designed spot varnished print covers. A single raspberry in the snow. A frost-covered twig in a spartan landscape. A cobalt blue table setting showcases a delectable winter soup. A closet sports a perfectly aligned array of similarly neutral-colored garments on matched wood hangers. You well-heeled women know the drill. The psychological effect of this aesthetic herding effect in January is presumably for us all to mentally ‘start anew’ or ‘refresh ourselves’.

In reality, this imaging isn’t meant to make us feel better, happier, or to gain more control over our lives. Most of it is to promote magazines, new products, weight loss programs, and all the other things the marketplace knows sell better in January. This year, I’m not falling for the ‘banana in my tailpipe’ as comedian Eddie Murphy hilariously set out in the movie Beverly Hills Cop. I hate feeling played in my wiser years. I have spent decades of seasons observing this surface imaging and witnessed how long it lasts in my day-to-day life. By February, I’m into Mardi Gras King Cake and lamenting over the same clutter and the ‘junk-in-my-trunk’.

By March, I’m envisioning stick-straight jeans and skinny tees and thinking, “by June, I’ll lose 7 pounds.” When the den is finally painted a serene Cloud Fog or whatever ‘in’ color name that is being touted in the latest home décor magazine, I’ll be inspired to do greater things. The truth is, that’s not where my mojo really lies. It’s not where our Kwan speaks.

The truth is, our true calling might be in doing just exactly the opposite of what our shaming voice tells us we should be fixing.

Maybe our hearts are needing to indulge just one more day following the holidays. Perhaps it’s having that second glass of wine with a friend, or burying our faces in a tall buttered popcorn laughing through a movie with our children. Kicking off the Converse into my messy closet and smoothing on the oh-so-forgiving spandex for the next week and a half sounds about right. Certainly, it is stealing one more uninvited hug and spontaneously kissing on grandmas. Okay, the dog is fat, but one more peanut butter flavored bone won’t be the thing that sends him over the edge.

The truth that I know is that I am enough. I’m not deficient because my closet isn’t painted Dover White with exactly 11 pastel size 4 button-down shirts with khaki silk suits and flat loafers all waiting for me to don for my ladies’ lunch. In fact, I’m not even deficient when I eat a plate of steak fries. I’m deficient when I fail to notice that I need to open the door for the elderly lady coming into the restaurant while I’m checking my phone to catch the Facebook post. I’m deficient and really missing out when I lash out in anger, even internally, at something that slights my faulty expectations of what ‘should’ be.

My lack is in my abundance of baggage, but that baggage isn’t in the form of thigh circumference, house clutter, or mismatched fashion. That baggage is what stops me from being more compassionate, empathetic, or simply more available. To people. The world we don’t see in full clarity; the emotional and spiritual world, has colors, dimension, and design in a masterpiece that is all its own. The spiritual gifts we have to offer out are gold, silver and never-ending. Love itself, the dog, and probably every other person you know doesn’t care if you’ve gained 13 pounds, or that your car smells like pizza.

I’m an absolute Martha Stewart fan. I wholeheartedly aspire to her creativity and aesthetic betterment of every single thing, and especially her cool chickens that lay blue eggs. I live in her head. I’m not personally offended by this year’s controversial Peloton ad, although I can see why someone would be. I completely embrace the rebuttal martini ad that followed it. I’m all about ‘girl fun’ and especially irreverent rebellious humor. There are too many things that happened to real people this year, to empower any external efforts to move me one solitary inch towards secularity.

A friend’s Stage 4 cancer diagnosis and rounds of brutal chemo has left a stark blessing: improved bloodwork numbers and a family that congregates in love; stolen life among the frozen limbs. Hope to start over, to continue; the opportunity to survive. Another chance to hug a child or tell a bad joke. Another friend beat a devastating diagnosis. Her holidays bring her merriment, coffee and pizza rolls at the lake house with her family. That’s where we all really glow, and that surreal and special painted landscape is as distilled and perfect as the berry in the snow.

Jen Moore is the mother of two adult boys and is married to a rancher who lives in Loveland, Colorado.  She is a long-time cartoonist, graphic artist, and writer.  Her two pugs, Muttsy and Ella, are her constant companions.  She also designs fun and eccentric handmade jewelry.  Jen is passionate about having a bit of glitter or fairy dust laying around for those humdrum days, and about mentoring women who are caught in emotional abuse situations.  She credits her faith in God and her close female friendships to not being completely insane at this point in her life.  Jen can be reached through her website www.yellowpug.com.