Thursday, September 23, 2010

"The Audrey"

About a month ago I bought this new apron – “the Audrey” – to match my kitchen. Stop laughing. It’s true, and it looks fabulous. The halter style, black and white, 1920’s version of the modern day cooking attire makes me feel like I shine in the kitchen, so much that I cook every chance I get so I have an excuse to wear it. In fact, I even sport it to warm up left over Chinese food and to let go of my morning Eggo’s in the toaster…

Just another Saturday night in my kitchen …
A few weeks back, I had been fighting the gift of the seasonal change – a sinus infection. Which in lamens terms means I hadn’t felt pretty in a week. Over the weekend though, while my son was a way and I was relaxing, I found myself in the kitchen, on a Saturday night, cooking for one. But the uno in the equation did not prevent me from sliding into the Audrey and making a spicy pasta and asparagus creation. Stephen Kellogg was playing in my kitchen CD player. The aroma of spice was in the air. I set the table (which that night the role was played by my living room floor …), and I substituted the red wine for a hot cup of Zen green tea. For a moment, I felt better.

But, as my mind has a tendency to do … it began to wander about, traveling in thoughts – thoughts such as “Damn I make this apron look good …” and “This is completely not lame ….” and “I wonder what the ratio of other girls, my age, this attractive in an apron and stilettos, are at home, alone, on a Saturday night? I bet it’s an insanely high number …” and “What channel am I watching??? Nope, nope, nope … don’t fall for it – that shake weight will never accomplish the goal of “burning fat” – but it can and will accomplish next channel please …”

And then …. Wait for it, wait for it … yep, there they were – like clockwork … those plaguing thoughts any one, at home, on a Saturday night, alone, will eventually begin to think … thoughts such as “I should have made plans – yeah, but I was sick – yeah, but at this rate, this could be my future in ten years if I keep playing such bad ass defense with my heart. It’s like I am my own condensed version of kryptonite. Arrrggghhhh …. So frustrating! What are you waiting for??”

As my mind deliberated on such thoughts, the silence of the house gave way to the sound of muffled music. A festival seemed to be going on a few blocks away, and from my top floor apartment I could hear the distant sound. I couldn’t resist. I am a sucker for music. And even more so for live music. So I did what any normal girl would do, alone, on a Saturday night, with plaguing questions about her future – I took off my stilettos (leaving the Audrey on), threw open my window, grabbed my cup of tea, my laptop and some pillows, and sat typing this very piece as I listened to the live version of “Don’t Stop Believing” … oh wait, by the time I finished this paragraph we were well into “I wish I had Jesse’s Girl” … and, as it typical happens, it doesn’t take much for me to smile … and instantly I found that I was well into the comfort of being home … alone… smiling …

And that’s the beauty of music …
For me, my mood can be completely changed by one song. That night made me reminisce to a night a few weeks prior. We were downtown at a Cards game, where afterwards we found ourselves at the infamous Paddy O’s, kicking back long island ice teas and laughter. That night something amazing happened. I danced in the rain. This massive thunderstorm rolled in sending everyone either inside or under the outdoor bar tent. One of my girlfriends, a true conqueror of the rarity in life, grabbed me and asked me to dance. And so we did. For hours we splashed and twirled. The smiling was endless. The feeling was infectious – carefree, lost in the moment. Giggling as we had our drinks and our two steps. It was a true movie moment – a memory in the making. And one that I will fondly cherish. As the rain soaked me, each drop landing on my face, I took in the feeling of happiness inhabiting my every molecule.

Shouldn’t life be this intoxicating with living in the rarity on any given day? There is no one preventing us from dancing in our very own kitchens. No one that is, besides, ourselves. Life is scary, and when you least expect it, painful. But it’s also “The Audrey” – making us feel amazing for no other reason besides we sport it. We rock it. We make up any excuse we can to place ourselves in it. Completely emerged in the real, the raw, and the romance of the rarity.

And that’s the beauty of life …
We have the option, in rain and in shine, to place ourselves in it and do our damn best to live it. How? By creating memories. Living dreams. Making mistakes. Falling down and getting back up. Admitting our faults. Taking chances. Allowing love in. Giving more than we take. Gambling on risks. Remembering that there are no guarantees. Not hiding our feelings. Opening our eyes to the gifts each day brings. And, being comfortable with just being ourselves.

Is it frustrating? Sometimes too much. Is it crippling? No doubt. Is it a beautiful crazy mess? Perhaps – but it’s a rarity … our very own beautiful crazy mess that gives us such extraordinary life altering moments.

If you’re hearts broken, pick up the pieces. If you doubt, have faith. If you love someone, tell them. If your angry, forgive. If your sad, smile. Why? Because life’s dance is happening now. Like in the now now. Not tomorrow, not next Tuesday, but now. It’s our choice whether or not we fill up our dance cards, or sit it out – either way, it’s the life we are leading, it’s the life we are living. It’s the life that is worth dancing in the rain, feeling the rhythm of making the moments count.

And that’s the beauty of a moment …
It can captivate you. Change the course of your future. And give you a reason to dance. It’s your rarity – dream it. Believe in it. Live it. And make every excuse you can to put yourself in it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Timeless Art is Created

Like a Shakespeare classic, life plays out in performances of both exquisiteness and of misfortune. A Midsummer’s Nights Dream was born over the course of years, and continues to touch the lives of many as it is one of the most performed plays in the last century.
Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is considered one of his crowning achievements; not created over night, but over a period of four years in which he refused any payment for its creation.
Vincent Van Gogh was one of the greatest artists of his time, yet never saw himself as such; in fact, Starry Night was painted from the view of his window sill where he was voluntarily committed into a mental hospital.

Some of the great art, timeless and classic, can teach us a lesson if we are prepared to study its history, and apply its grandeur to the present. Our lives, symbolic of art, can represent the hard work, strength of mind, and perseverance that in essence transforms into a striking magnum opus. Stepping back from the illusion that life is without struggles and sacrifices, late nights and headaches, and giving in to the effort it will take to build our legacy is how we can allow the exquisiteness to step into the galleries of our time.

We each envision this perfect life – like a piece of art that is only appreciated by the splendor it depicts on the world around it. You step onto a museum floor and you gaze upon the greats; your mind captivated by the pieces on display. But you are failing to take in the true history of their creation; we seldom stop to appreciate the heartache, the tears, the trials and tribulations, the countless “rough drafts” it must take to finally originate a finished product that you can be proud of. Sure life could be such ecstasy if the “art” was just there – but it’s the work that we put into it that creates a masterpiece. It’s the moments that enrich our lives that give creativity. It’s the collection of simplistic that invent….

Like the power of the first kiss. The dancing in the dark, with no music but that of your heart. The sound of laughter evoking liveliness. The wishing on a star and believing with all your might. The taking it slow, and just living in the moment. The feeling of peace from a simple walk in the vast outdoors. The gifts of today, and the hope for tomorrow. The taking of chances that can forever change our lives … like taking a chance that from yesterday’s pain, today’s beauty can be appreciated even more ... the serendipitous chances are there to serve a purpose … if we are ready to create.

Like timeless art, our lives are formed from the materials set out in front of us. Paint that sits on a brush, no Picasso will we be - but when applied to the canvases in our lives, the possibilities are endless. Breaking free from our thoughts and giving into the power of our creation can allow a classic to be created. Using the moments of our lives – both of the cynical and promising – can give endless possibilities to what can be created. Our worlds do not exist by simply painting by numbers – true art, true beauty, comes from within … and only you can create the pieces of “art” to exist in your life … and to be left behind.