Be A Work of Art
Updated: Jun 14
When I was growing up, my Aunt Joyce lived in Connecticut. She visited the DC area regularly to see her family and we knew with each visit that we would be force-marched downtown to - drum roll please - the National Art Gallery. It wasn't a museum with cool exhibits to touch. There were no animals on display, like at the Natural History Museum. There certainly wasn't music playing or people talking on a huge screen to enjoy. It was just art. And as a teenager, I just couldn't appreciate why my aunt would travel all the way from Connecticut to visit the damn art museum.
She was an artist in her own right and could appreciate, from top to bottom, what was contained in those four walls. And she knew that if she could get her reluctant nieces to explore and learn to see the value in those four walls as well, our life would be better for it. So we went to the museum. And we looked. And we did our best to listen. She would tell us to imagine the art was something we had created. Imagine it was something that we had imagined in our head and figured out how to make into a reality. How would we feel to have our work displayed for all to see? Better yet - imagine yourself a piece of art - what would you look like? What would people say about you? Ok, Aunt Joyce. Thirty-five years later, I accept your challenge. If I were a work of art I'd be:
Unique. Like no one else. Completely my own person that is unable to be matched up as an identical pair in a whole boxed set of similar items. Unique can be unusual or different to an extreme. For me, being unique is just being true to my authentic self, without permission from others and without regret.
Rough around the edges. Being ok with being incomplete or a work in progress. Being more than ok with being someone that just isn't perfect and isn't striving to be perfect. Rough edges doesn't have to mean not lovely or not beautiful or not worthy of looking at. Rough edges are just not smooth.
Valuable. I want to be a good person. I want to be good to other people. And I want to be good for something other than just taking up space on this planet while I am here. We've all heard the saying to not just be good, but be good FOR something. That is the most valuable thing I can think of. Art may have monetary value. I certainly don't need that. I want to find my value in what I give and how I live.
Easy to be around. Hang a piece of art on the wall and it goes unnoticed if it is in the right spot, not blocking a walkway, not interfering with the color scheme of the room. It's there and loved for being just there, like it is. I want to be like that. I don't want people to have to work hard to cater to my needs or feel like they can't be themselves because of my presence. I want to be easy to be near, maybe even a welcome presence for those that choose to be in my company.
Able to brighten any room. Great art changes the whole room. Why shouldn't a person? Why wouldn't I want to be a person that improves the whole tone of the room simply by walking in the door? A willingness to speak to strangers. Easy laughter. Positive energy. A spirit that brings people together.
Absolutely irreplaceable. Dare I say priceless? I think everyone qualifies for this one no matter what they do and who they are. We must continue to believe in the irreplaceability of ourselves and those around us. This one is easy. I don't have to do anything to check this box. Mission accomplished.
Thinking about ourselves as a work of art is a way to take a more light-hearted approach to self-reflection and/or improvement. It is just another way of taking stock of who we are and what we do and how we feel. We really are works of art, regardless of what we do. So let's start there. We are simply amazing. And, for the record, so are art museums. Thank you, Aunt Joyce.
But now I pass the challenge on to you. What kind of art would you like to be?