Ugly Art: The Art of Letting Go
My Daughter makes Ugly Art.
There, I said it.
Hours at the craft table, gluing and cutting and coloring the most atrocious, disjointed, sloppy, "artistic" expressions- she makes me GASP! As a recovering perfectionist this often sends shockwaves & noticeable convulsions through my body. Why just the other day, she wanted to send "art" (snicker) to her long-distance friend in Chicago. I obliged, and we cracked-open the craft drawers. What began as a sweet-glittery-glue-fest took a wrong, dark turn somewhere (insert ominous music here) and between the snakes, and the blobs of red and the nonsense scribbles we were making something...UGLY!
We couldn't send this. This wasn't sweet. This wasn't something anyone wanted to receive, right? But she insisted we continue with THIS art, after my many attempts to start something...new. Something without snakes, whatever that purple thing was, and without red & pink splotches...but, alas, she insisted. Then I thought, fine, sure "we'll send this" knowing full well it would find its way to a trash can before finding its way to a post office box. I had devised my evil plan. (Trust me, nothing as evil as this art on your eyes). Please, I was sparing her friend's precious sight. You're welcome.
Okay, fine...it was all about me. My imposed ideas of what something is supposed to look like. My own confined, limiting need for order & symmetry.
Yet somehow, it found its way into an envelope. With an actual address. With a real stamp. Then, on foot, we were actually walking to the post office. What? Then something even more miraculous happened...as we walked, she gushed. Gushed about the colors, about the snakes, about the scribbles, about the glitter, about her friend's reaction when she opens it. About the love. About how great it felt to create something for someone else. About the ART of giving. Somewhere along these neighborhood streets, leaves crunching under foot, her exuberant chatter floating through the air, I miraculously understood. I understood that despite my attempts to control the outcome, she had in fact created a magnificent piece of art. I just had to see it through her eyes. I clutched the manila envelope a little tighter now, as if I were carrying a Rembrandt.
We mailed it, then joyfully skipped home wondering aloud when her friend would receive her mail. How we needed to go home to make more. Mail more. Create more. We quickened our pace. We opened our craft drawers. We made magnificent ART...
Daily she teaches me. Today's lesson: freeing ourselves from "perfect" outcomes... because life, and love, and relationships, and parenting, are messy... And messy is BEAUTIFUL!