You’re Creating a Work of Art

Have you ever walked through a museum, caught sight of a piece of art, and thought:

Man, that is the biggest piece of shit I’ve ever seen.


We don’t just do this in museums. We do this to people. Every day.

We emerge from our climate-controlled havens out into the world, purpose-driven and goal-oriented and by left and right and everything in between, some shit is going to get done today.

And then this motherfucker comes along.

This mess.

This hot, raving, absolute lunatic mess. How does this person get through living each day with any modicum of success? How does this motherfucker right here get anything done when they have to wade through the mess that they are every day?

Like, fucking HOW? I mean, if someone gave this person alphabet soup, the only thing they could spell would be DTYQUJKNLSFFFG.

This. Fucking. Mess. Of. A. Person. Has. To. Be. The Biggest Piece. Of. Shit. I’ve. Ever. Seen.

Well, guess what?

People think that about YOU every day.

When you drop your phone, bump into them on the train, forget an item and have to leave the line 1 step away from the register, put the wrong PIN into the card terminal at the checkout, give a wrong answer, offer up an idea in a meeting only to have it shot down by Mark (that asshole in Marketing) who has a special talent for demonstrating how no one is as smart as he is. When you post a Facebook status update about a less than optimal day or say that you’re broken up about Carrie Fisher having joined The Force or even broke down crying when you saw a tweet from Gary, her dog.

People think that YOU are the biggest piece of shit and hottest mess THEY have ever seen.

And that’s pretty cool. Because here’s the thing: YOU are a work of art. And art is MESSY.

You’re a bundle of ideas, hopes, dreams, and foibles, wrapped in an imperfect canvas. There are days you’re stretched thin on your frame, ready to split and others where you feel you’re sagging a bit in the middle. On some days, our colors run together and on others, we can’t get them to blend. There’s the rare day where everything lines up and the light hits you just right and you feel like the Mona fucking Lisa, with eyes that see everything and a smile that says more than any words ever could.

You’re hidden away, revealing yourself piece by piece as new ideas come to surface. As you learn yet another thing about your YOU and this LIFE and how you and life mix together (or don’t). There’s a story you’re telling and not even you know the ending. And when you finally put that period after The End(.) —

it’s out of your control what people will think of the story you’ve told.

Just like a Jackson Pollock painting. Or a Monet. Or a Dickensian tale.

You’re creating a work of art. Not everyone is going to like it and there are plenty of people who will think what you’ve created is the biggest piece of shit they’ve ever seen. Or perhaps worse — they won’t think of you at all.

And that’s perfectly okay.

Your job is to create YOUR work of art. Your YOU. This is where your fucks deserve to go. And it’s hard to not spend a fuck or two on what other people think of what you’re making — this YOU in progress.

But less fucks there. More fucks on your art.

What you’re creating. This family, this legacy, this life.

There is no small life. Just as there is no minor work of art.

There’s just art that more people have said is important. That doesn’t diminish the value of other art, created by other people, valued by other people for different reasons and preferences.

You’re creating a work of art. YOU.

And the best we can do each day is fall more in love with the fact that art is messy and imperfect. There’s no right way to do it. There are no right words — only the best ones for each moment (which is why we’re so fucking good at coming up with all the shit we SHOULD have said, but didn’t).

There is just your art. Your YOU. And the gentle reminder that everyone around us is on the same pursuit — creating their work of art. And their job isn’t to please us with their art, just as our job isn’t to please them with ours.

Our job is to create ourselves each day, complete with frayed edges and uneven hems, medications and therapists, struggles and unlikely triumphs, grey days and ones so dark, imperfect words yet best for the moment, and do it all with love and good in our hearts — knowing that on occasion we’ll fail to do so. We’ll wish we were more this and less that and look at the art of others and think our lives would be better if only we were more like them.

But it’s our frayed edges and uneven hems, our incomplete sentences and moments where we’re at a loss for words, our smiles and tears at the worst fucking possible times…

That make our art — our SELVES — real. Honest. And something that’s less a mess than we think it to be.

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