Street art or graffiti or urban art – whatever the proper name is – I love it! For me, the city of Prague takes the prize for the best street art (it is home to the Lennon Wall.) But no matter the place, I’m always on the hunt for the unusual bits of art that are not displayed in the museums. So, I was pretty pleased when I came face to face with this fantastic mural while wandering the streets of a small English city.
As I stared at it, my thoughts turned inward. Now that I’m older, I no longer try to hide all the trash in my life. Instead, like a bizarre recycling machine, I use it for other purposes. Because of the trash - the mistakes, the pain, the guilt - I can better identify with others.
I can look them in the eye and be sincere.
I can tell them “I’ve been there.”
I can offer encouragement as one who has felt a similar pain.
Like the painting, I turn my trash into something that can beautify a community AND my own life.
I like to look to people who are older than me, notice something I admire about them, and then start to cultivate it in my life; this is so that when I reach their age, I have that trait embedded in me, just like they do.
Of course, the artist in me notices the clothing, make-up, and exquisite jewelry.
But I’m also talking about inner qualities. For instance, while growing up, I noticed my Mom kept everything so clean and tidy. I liked it when she would help me organize my room or step in and confidently guide me as I cleaned. When I poked around in her areas of the house (her closet, her bathroom cabinet, her night stand drawers) everything seemed fresh and put together. She left no dishes in the sink overnight, and she even folded up the throw blankets in the living room before heading to bed.
And now, as I run my own household, I like to do the same.
My admiration of qualities in others turns into a goal for the future, helping me anticipate the years ahead.
My definition of love was too unrealistic, too emotionally based, and too dreamy.
Each year shows me that love grows in the nitty gritty of reality, surpasses emotional states, and is hard.
And much better than I dreamed.
When my friend was little, her Mom bought a large portable trashcan and then proceeded to wheel it through the mall and out to where their car was parked.
All her friends were lined up along the mall walls, laughing at her.
No, not really.
But of course, my friend was mortified. And at that age, I would have been too if that had been my mall, my mother, and my giant trash can.
While aging has given me a sense of humor (as I now find the story hysterical), I also find that I just don’t care as much as I used to about what others think of me. When I was younger, people told me this would happen, but they didn’t do justice to the feeling that accompanies this new (healthier) mindset: freedom.
Creator of Love, Auntie.