Monday, July 12, 2010

Daily Reminder # 46

Beauty really IS in the eye of the beholder.

Lucky for me, I happen to love weeds, since weeds - and not just weeds but OVERGROWN weeds - are pretty much the sum total of my yard. There are people in this world who would hang their heads in shame if they had a back yard like mine, but I love it's wild, ragged, eccentric beauty.

That said.... don't you know there's always a BUT with me, a yin to my yang, an up to my down, a... you get the idea. So anyway, I'm my mother's daughter. The princess of shame. So part of me is mortified by my weedy, overgrown untended back yard. It symbolizes my inability to tend to my life. It symbolizes my poverty. It symbolizes my laziness. It symbolizes all things bad.

There's a story I like to tell about my mother. It was a profound life lesson for me. For those that don't know, my mother spent the last 20 years of her life battling progressive dementia and depression. Because she didn't respond to medication and was literally wasting away from anxiety and confusion, she received shock treatments. That's kind of irrelevant to this story, but I thought it was important to share. Anyway, things had been going pretty well and then one day my father called me to say that he thought my mother was having another break-down. She was hallucinating and confused. I raced out to Long Island and my mother was indeed confused, but it wasn't like other times when her visions had been very dark. This time she was seeing a little girl who was playing with her and - I'm finally getting to the point - told me happily what a lovely house we were in. It was a lot like hers, she told me - only nicer. Freed of her shame, she was - for a brief moment in time - able to feel good about her own home, to be unashamed of it. Shame is a cruel task master. Happily she recovered from this crisis (which turned out to be encephalitis not another break down). Less happily, she recovered her shame as well. The house went back to being unworthy and unlovable.

But anyway, part of the point of today's ramblings is that it's a good idea to check on the lenses through which we look at our lives. Do we really hate that sofa - the one that's so comfortable and hugs you like a friend when you sit on it - or is that someone else's voice whispering in our ear?

a bee! a bee!
the lone bee, but a real one
alas, there were a bunch of beetles too...
but there was a BEE!

Back to my mother, whose illness was devastatingly sad and painful for all of us who loved her, but was full of profound life lessons. As her illness progressed, much of my mother's time was spent picking imaginary dirt off the floor. I always say that my mother stood at the door with the vacuum cleaner keeping the dirt out and that the dirt gremlins are taking their revenge on me. I don't ward off dirt. These days my disability is a bit of an excuse for my failure as a house keeper, but I decided that if there was a choice to be made between not being a model home maker and picking imaginary dirt off the floor for 10 years, I'd go with being a slob. I think that's the right choice. At least for me. Of course I may still wind up picking imaginary dirt off the floor, but I've saved myself some angst in between. I love my house even if it isn't ready for House Beautiful.

But anyway, back to the actual topic at hand (sticking to the subject... what a concept)... My nephew and I used to have big debates about subjectivity vs. realism. It should be no surprise to anybody that I think the world is pretty much totally subjective. Everything filters through our experience, our taste, our ego, our.... So one woman's handsome is another woman's "him???" Really? Some of us think daisies are beautiful and some love orchids. (Some, like me, love them all.)

I also think that what we love and find beautiful shifts with age, with mood, with .... any number of variables. I guess, maybe my point (if I actually have one) is to expand your concept of beauty and own your love of things you may think you shouldn't love. It's YOUR life, not your mother's or the neighbor's or the tabloid writers.

Guess that's it for the moment. Sorry if I wandered a bit in the maze of my sometimes perplexed and perplexing mind. Hope nobody got lost.

Some things I'm grateful for today:

  • cooler weather (yes!)
  • my camera
  • gogi berry juice
  • dry cat food (it's the bedtime treat Tara lives for)
  • egg rolls
  • birds
  • weeds
  • sunlight
  • beauty
  • the eye of the beholder


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