Tallulah is our four-year-old and if any of my children are going to use their hands to create, it will be her. I still draw stick figures, so, when she draws an eye with a pupil, iris, outer lid and eyelashes, I choke on my soup. It’s amazing! This tiny little person draws such beautiful and intricate works of art, and it brings out an anticipation for her future in me, like a kid waiting for popcorn on movie night. What upsets me is when she believes the lies of doubt; when she, at four, already gives into thinking she is inadequate. She drew a picture of me, the face disproportioned, but truly epic for a four-year-old, and she said, “It’s you, but it’s weird”. I looked at her and said, “Weird is beautiful, Lula! The best artists drew the weirdest stuff! Have you ever seen Picasso’s paintings?” She, at four, had apparently not, and so we delved into the world of the image search. I showed her the faces that were all uneven and twisted and all the “wrong” colors and she at least seemed to believe me that weird could be beautiful. At least she wasn’t alone in her “weirdness”. I am not an art history major, but I can enter “Picasso early criticisms” into a search engine. When I did, I found someone I did learn quite a bit about as a psychology major. Carl Jung, one of the founders of humanistic psychology, was none-too-pleased with Picasso’s work. He called his work “schizophrenic”, “satanic”, and stated the following: “The picture leaves one cold, or disturbs one by its paradoxical, unfeeling, and grotesque concern for the beholder.” So we get it, right, that the first name someone thinks of when they are asked to recall “famous artists” was ridiculed and his work was “weird”? We get that this weirdness was his greatness, right?
I know I talk about my disease a lot, but my disease is just one of the weird things about me. There are plenty more. What chronic illness can do, though, is make you feel very isolated, very different, and to be completely honest, if I had drawn myself when I was first diagnosed, I would have drawn a satanic looking Picasso portrait.
I felt weird.
Not to mention all the atrocities that are inflicted upon your body when you become a mom. It’s simply not fair that my hips refuse to go back – I just went to the PT and my left side is inches higher than the other. My hips are sooooo Picasso. Anyway, I am going to wrap up this blog with another art story. My husband and my good friend is a local artist and we went to his show recently. One of his paintings held a message that our imperfections are what we should embrace.
They are beautiful.
That resonated. Weird is ok, my friends. If your body has failed you, it may make you feel weird, and yeah, the pain sucks, and sure, maybe you wish a Renaissance painter had been commissioned for your “life portrait”. You had hoped for perfection and flattery, but you got Picasso’d. I got Picasso’d.
Our disease makes us weird.
Our differences: weird.
Everybody’s weird weird.
No one told our bodies or our souls, for that matter, to stay on the path, and things got rocky and totally weird. We have to make a decision: we fight the weirdness and try to attain normalcy, something we will all try to do, or we accept the off-roading, off-stroke, off-kiltered spot we stand on. If you stop and look up for a moment though, I think you may see something beautiful. Look up and see the meadow or the flowers, the trees, and the streams. Look up and see the things that staying on the straight and narrow perfect path will never let you see. Those that have experienced pain can appreciate the true beauty of imperfection. Then there are those moments that are pain free and perfect: we breathe them in more deeply than those that have never left the path. So, as my friend stated in his painting, as Picasso showed us in his, and as Lula shows us in hers, get your weird on my friends! Weird truly is beautiful – find the beauty in it and be proud of your distorted selves. From one weirdo to another…Weird On!!