Perfectly Imperfect— Leigh Patterson

Children are always the first to notice the moon. The average/enlightened adult might be generally aware that it may be full or that it might have a special poetic name or rareness (super moon, wolf moon etc) or they might have been compelled to acquire a moon calendar, to fold her miraculous constancy into the required architecture of "the schedule". But. Children will spot Madame Moon on any bluebird afternoon, cresting over some trees, say, with no heed to anything other than the act of noticing, an immediate centering of sheer wonder and the simple truth-ness of it simply being there. I SEE THE MOON! They will shout. And so they do, and so she is.


Thinker, writer, storyteller, and moon-seer Leigh Patterson makes a lot of beautiful magic. Her beloved "Moon Lists" project—an analog undated journal and self-propelled guide to cultivating awareness using the moon as metaphor and catalyst for reflection and expansion—in particular makes us feel like those children: I am here! This is it! What wonder. We talked with Leigh about that wonder, about refining perspective, committing to showing up fully, and the pure pleasure of feeling good in your clothes.

 

Leigh wears the Louise Cardigan and Utility Pant  

  

  

  





So much of your work is about awareness. How do you cultivate awareness in the hyper mundane?

I'm at my best inside a balance of opposites — dedicated time alone and hyper-engaging social stimulation; trivial rituals and moments where I feel part of something transcendently bigger; yammering about Carl Jung while I'm crying about garbage TV. I think what most grounds me is surrounding myself with people, art, community, places, and experiences that are continually refreshing and renewing my perspective.  

 

While we often think of "ritual" in terms of action, participating in ritual is as much about storytelling (the ones we tell ourselves about ourselves, the ones the world tells us about us) as it is about anything else. What kinds of stories do you craft with your own ritual experiences?

One of my favorite *parts* about Moon Lists is that after I do it, I realize I have better stories to tell. More accurate ones to tell myself, more interesting ones to tell others, more compelling ones to challenge pre-existing beliefs.

The idea of ritual has become so commodified that the word itself feels a bit empty — a placeholder for branded content selling unregulated mystery tinctures. I think the idea needs an updated contextualization to not feel like it mandates solitary rigor or a dedication to a well-marketed product. I personally choose to understand ritual in the instances where I have committed myself to fully showing up, whether that looks like 10 minutes of journaling so I can better understand what I'm missing...or making plans with friends who challenge me...or getting outside to feel the sun on my face and remember that none of this solipsism matters at all!

 

You make so much other beauty in addition to Moon Lists... we've even seen it reduced to being called your "side hustle". Maintaining wonder is vigorous work, as they say. How do you help yourself achieve balance between staying present, cultivating that wonder, and... the hustle?

Uhhhh I am bad at this. I help myself with: therapy, laughing at nonsense, exercise, reading fiction, and a partner who routinely tells me to (kindly) chill the F out.


  

  

 

Leigh wears the Longsleeve Tee and Cara Straight Jean.





 

 

Leigh wears the Longsleeve TeeCara Straight Jean and Dad Cardi.

 

  

  

 

  





Your "Sense Inventory" prompt always speaks to us— how our bodies feel in our clothes and in our days is deeply important to us on both a physical (tactile/fabrication/fit) and emotional (style vibe/mind mood) level. How is your sense of personal style tied to your tactile and emotional senses?

I have always deeply loved everything about fashion — the drama, the story, the thrill of discovery, the fun and frivolity and evolution and pure pleasure of it all. To me, feeling good about what I'm wearing is a statement about personal confidence and an act of self-respect.



Current SENSE INVENTORY (A TASTE, A SOUND, A SCENT, A FEELING, A SIGHT):

Taste - Caramelized purple sweet potatoes topped with Gjusta's pesto and lots of sesame seeds.

Sound - Playlist of Japanese piano music that's kinda 80s-cheesy but has been a nice way to start my days.

Scent - Into a Spanish lip balm called Sauvina, which smells like citrusy-menthol medicine and is the texture of sticky candy. I can't tell if I like it or hate it but I'm into the ambiguous in-between zone.

Feeling - Been re-learning how to do a back handspring (shout-out to my deep gymnastics phase making a mid-30s comeback) and am remembering the sensation of jumping backward with blind trust in my body.

Sight - Works by painter Heather Jeanne Chontos at a recent opening in Los Angeles.

 

See more of Leigh's work here and follow Moon Lists here on Instagram here. Photos by Arianna Lago

 

  

 

 

 

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