You Are Art

It’s mid-January already.You’ve probably been told that more than once in the last couple of days. Mid-January. Mid-January surely means that the scars of getting through the holidays should be fading by now. Are they?

When you’re The Mom Friend to a whole gaggle of people, this can be the time of year that you playing psychiatrist becomes quite the juggling act. Tensions don’t run quite as mildly as folks on Facebook would have us all believe. Super silly happy family! Look at us all. We love each other. We eat in peace once we have said our prayers. We look like an idealistic painting. Painted by fairies who bathe in the spittle of unicorns.

So it is at this time of year that I tend to contemplate what it means to be the outsider. What it means to be the black sheep of the family. What it means to be the misplaced loner who feels rather alien when it comes to family life. I consider them more at this time of year, not only because I feel them in a small way myself, but because I watch how this familial disconnect keeps happening to people I love. I see how the disapproval directed at them by close friends and family members – gathered together in the name of supposedly the most sacred of holidays for the Christian faith – breaks them into smaller pieces than they deserve to be broken into.

And all I can think is this: You are art.

Because maybe that is the answer. Maybe you are art. We have been told over and over that art seeks to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. And if we are to believe this statement – a statement that I personally hold to be an exceptional truth – then perhaps we are art. Perhaps we disturb the comfortable with our very beings. We may not be a provocative painting or a sculpture that begs questions, but I cannot help but believe that we are a disturbance in the very face of picturesque suburbia, or whatever your familial equivalent of that might be.

Our hair isn’t right.

We’ve dressed too shabbily.

We should really lose weight. Or gain weight.

That’s not polite conversation, we should stop bringing it up.

Have you tried a different shade of lipstick?

What are you doing with your life?

You’re not getting any younger, you know.

All the questions and the criticisms boil down to basically one thing: Why are you this way when you should be that way?

And maybe the answer is that you are art. You are a disturbance in the life of the comfortable. And you know what, my friend? That is such a beautiful thing. I am sorry that this is a hard time of year, one that brings judgements and accusations and  crippling self-doubt.

But you are art.

It hurts and it is a heavy burden.

But you are art.

You are a thorn in the side of those who are incapable of seeking to understand.

But you are art.

You are the most glorious of comforts.

You are the colour against a grey background.

You are dessert for breakfast.

You are art.

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