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When I was a kid I was an overachieving little perfectionist a-hole with straight A’s and color-coded closets. As children we have very little choice in the matters of life; where we live, what we eat, how we dress; obviously our parents decide everything for us and we have very little control over our environment. In return most of us get a roof over our head, food to eat, and have little to no worries.

All of the quirks I had developed as a child were all within my control and I thrived on the positive attention I gained from it. Growing up, this behavior continued until I became an ungrateful teen, at which time I began to rebel. Same phenomena, different approach, testing the boundaries and my mother’s patience. This rebellious attitude continued through college, and into my 20s, and like a pendulum, I swung out as far as I could [so~to~speak], and ended up ignoring all well-intended advice and learning most things the hard way, making poor senseless choices, and basically creating my own chaos inside.

It wasn’t until I stopped blaming other people for my misfortunes, stopped seeking constant approval from others, accepted~forgave~respected myself, that I was able to take responsibility and control of my own life.

And as an adult the ‘pendulum’ swings more like the ones in a grandfather clock, back and forth slightly, and I feel so full of wisdom, yet far from perfect. I’ve come to realize that it really is okay.

Life is a Beautiful Mess. It’s not a bad thing. Life is messy. I’m grateful for all of it and lucky to have it.

I have a teen who ‘is just like me’ and I have to give my Mom credit for wishing that upon me (love you Mom!) I certainly got it…tenfold. I have been using every single ninja resource and last ounce of energy on him, the past three years have admittedly been a little bit exhausting.

And so lately, I’ve noticed my patience getting to be paper-thin, my filter becoming non-existent, and like a spineless jellyfish, I am ready to sting at the slightest ‘wrong’ look or statement.

Last week I read my poem Kindred Spirit at the Impact Artist’s Gallery. I ended up crying in front of a roomful of strangers. I got through it, and quickly sat down feeling pretty humiliated. It wasn’t that my own poem moved me to tears, I was obviously more upset than I knew. I also realized that I probably needed to get out and do something fun, even non-art related, and what a terrible public speaker I am.

So I took a lot of time off last week. I read a fantastic book One Time in Paris by Wade Stevenson, who I met at the poetry reading. After he read the first chapter, I knew I had to buy the book, and he signed my copy, so I was thrilled. This multi-layered book was just what I needed, in fact I couldn’t put it down and finished it in two days.  I highly recommend you put it on your summer reading list.

I also put the art aside and spent time with the family.

I talked to my family, friends, and peers who understand and really help keep me in line, and more importantly, laughing. It is important to reach out, especially when you feel vulnerable, need some perspective, and a clean-up on aisle one. And by the way…

My House Is A Beautiful Mess. This makes me feel good to put in writing actually. When you have no time to clean, just declare it! I can’t remember the last time I had the President for dinner. As a recovering perfectionist, it is really difficult to ignore. I have to remind myself daily and prioritize accordingly; happy kids, artwork done, happy me, hopefully making others happy. A messy, disorganized house, is the least of my worries.

And so I have entitled my latest mosaic painting A Beautiful Mess. It is supposed to be gorgeous and sunny and I am staying in my backyard all weekend to work on finishing this and doing other messy art.

“Oh, there are so many lives. How we wish we could live them concurrently instead of one by one by one. We could select the best pieces of each, stringing them together like a strand of pearls. But that’s not how it works. A human’s life is a beautiful mess.”

-Gabrielle Zevin



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