Clean Your Glasses

My glasses are always dirty. And most of the time, I see just fine through them. But every once in awhile, my husband points out how dirty they are.

“How do you see in those things?” he always asks me.

And it got me thinking, whether we have glasses to help our eyesight or not, everyone has “glasses.” It’s called their perspective.

And I don’t know about you, but sometimes  I can’t see anything else except from my perspective. Through my dirty lenses. And most of the time, I don’t notice that I’m doing it because I’m just seeing. It’s a little cloudy, and not as clear as it could be, but it’s there all the same.

Remember to clean your “glasses” so that you can see the world from another perspective, a clean one. Which will give you a whole new lease on life, just like cleaning your real glasses would.

So, try to see the world from a different perspective every once in awhile. Oh, and clean your glasses more often too.

Love,

Bailey

The Balance

I’m about to let you in on a little secret of mine (which I most likely have talked about before).

When I was younger, I believed in one certain truth that served me pretty well and was reinforced by all of the fairy tales I read:

“Good things will happen, and so will bad. Bad things will happen, and so will good. If you wait long enough, you’ll get them both, one after the other. So much so, you can depend on it.” So one good thing will happen…and then it is followed by a bad thing. And a bad thing will happen…and it is followed by a good thing. And so on and so on and so on. Until you live your entire life, waiting for the fog to roll in on a sunshiney day, and for the rain to clear on a stormy day. You’re always waiting for the next thing or hoping it doesn’t happen.

But I’ve realized that this is such an unrealistic way to live. It doesn’t matter if one moment is good or bad. It’s the moment that you’re living in, that you’re experiencing, that you’re discovering. And waiting for it to pass or having sadness when it does, is no way to live life. Just passing through your day is no way to live life. You need to thrive, and treasure every moment – not just the really good ones – and not cast away any one moment – like the really bad ones.

So, it’s true what they say – “if you’re going through hell, keep going.” But don’t worry about the hellscape you’re traveling through or coming from. Try to focus on the warmth of the flames every once in awhile. Your life will be better for it.

The Picasso Effect

Art is weird, right?

I mean, it’s the expression and perspective of one person at one time in space. So, it is completely dependent on how their ability, ideas, and experiences will shape their work. (Note: This is why that dog on a spaceship that your 3-year-old nephew drew doesn’t really look like a dog on a spaceship. But you’ll hang it on the fridge anyway).

And that first element, ability, is the really important part of art. What good is an artist if he or she cannot render how the world really is as well as what the artist perceives?

Well, actually, it turns out, that artist can still be pretty darn good if he or she does not adhere strictly to the rules of reality. Take Picasso. See Exhibit van Gogh. Look at Monet. Just because they didn’t paint in a realistic style does not mean they couldn’t. In fact, they needed a core understanding of how to paint “well” in order to deviate completely from the straight forward, photorealistic self-portraits of the time. If they had stuck to their basic skills learned in any class, they would have created art. Instead, they chose to strip away all of their knowledge and so made masterpieces.

Let me give you a more concrete and less abstract (art) example. I know how to dress to fit in. I know what make up to wear. I know what hair style is current. I know all of this because it is being forced down my throat in every media outlet, but I also know this because other people are reinforcing it for me by the way they style themselves as well. In the end, I could easily put on the right clothes, the right make-up, and do my hair the right way, and I might be considered by popular media to be “pretty.”

But I reject striving for “prettiness.” Instead, I strive for “me,” and my own truth, whatever that may be, and yes, my own truth sometimes eclipses with popular media’s desires for me (van Gogh did craft a self-portrait, after all), but mostly I try to step out of the box that people try to put me in, the same box that they try to stuff Picasso, van Gogh, and Monet in when they told them that they were not making art.

The basic point is that I know all too well how to fit in. I would have no trouble doing so, like a leaf floating down a fast-moving stream. It is that I choose not to.

Whenever you rebel against the norm, it is the Picasso Effect at work. It is simply doing what is different and new at the cost of your own personal comfort and the comfort of those around you. (Because when you aren’t doing what people expect, they get uncomfortable real fast.)

My only hope for you is that you will effect to the highest degree of Picasso, whenever faced with the choice to do so. That you will acknowledge your teachings but abandon them in favor of your own vision, irregardless of your ability. In the end, my one hope is that you will stay true to yourself no matter what the cost.

 

Yes to Death

Here’s how I make a new friend:

First, locate a person who is as shy or more shy than I am (difficult).

Second, run through a list of compliments I can give so I can start talking (medium).

Third, agree with everything they say (easy).

For whatever reason, that third step is really important. I don’t know where I got the idea, but I’ve always thought that people would only like me if I was incredibly agreeable. If I said yes to everything they said.

I hear myself saying, I can’t believe I found the only other accordion player in the United States! or What a coincidence! I love Nickelback! (I’m just kidding. Everyone would know that I was lying if I said that.)

Now, you have to understand that my intentions are mostly good. People bond quickly when they have something they like (or hate) in common. Which is why I like to be front and center when a person divulges their interests. And really, I’m not trying to deceive them. I’m just trying to establish a friendship. Most of the time, I really do like what they like.

But there are times that I don’t. I don’t know if it’s a fear of confrontation (which I have) or just a fear of being left out (which I also have), but I refuse to let anyone down when they talk about their preferences in that way.

And it’s taken me an entire lifetime to figure out that you don’t have to like everything someone else likes to be their friend.

In fact, discussions and conversations take more interesting turns when there is a difference in opinion. Not that you want to invite conflict necessarily. You should want to offer another perspective. Your perspective.

Because remember, your ideas and experiences are unique. The fact that a person travelled to the same country as you does not mean you’ll have a similar experience. The fact that a person grew up in the same town as you does not mean you’ll have a similar experience. Heck, a person (your sibling, parents, etc.) could have lived in the same house with you, and they still may not have had a similar experience. That’s why you should always be willing to share yours instead of simply agreeing with how someone else sees the world. There’s room enough for everyone to share their stories.

So, I’m still trying not to “yes to death” anyone anymore. But that’s not just an expression–you can really kill a friendship if you don’t have anything else to contribute than a nod and a smile. Push past the “yes.” You may find yourself in surprisingly more agreeable territory.