The Simply Visible Life

Photo courtesy of Benoit Preverelli for Vogue Paris

I’ve never not known myself to not be or appreciate creativity, particularly in the form of art. As a child I loved to write and draw, illustrating books for school projects, hating Rose Art supplies and knowing Crayola was the best, always looking forward to art class with Ms. Freeman on Fridays in elementary school loving English with Dr. Kay during 8th period in high school, thinking Sonya was the best creative writing professor at Temple, happily signing up and performing my own poetry at coffee houses in college.

However, despite my being a little more partial to the art of writing, recently been having an affair with visual arts, particularly photography. In fact it may be bordering obsession, and I am not using that term lightly. I have been taking more pictures lately than ever and by more I mean that my recent travels in the past few weeks have amassed over 125 pictures. I have seriously given thought to investing in a decent camera. I have gone to more photography exhibits as the museums I have visited in recent travels, have an even deeper appreciation for a friend who while we talk infrequently, gather even less frequently, doesn’t hesitate to send me some of the mesmerizing photos he takes (see the photo below), and I can’t even begin to express my excitement to see the Carrie Mae Weems exhibit in New York City next week. I couldn’t explain my new attraction, but I was completely into it.

Photo courtesy of Marcell Turner

Then, while having lunch in this sweet little Thai restaurant in Denver with a friend of my family’s, I knew where the infatuation stemmed from- childhood.

I know, you were probably hoping for this super deep beautiful rainbows and sunshine epiphany experience for me to share, but no. It was my childhood.

While I enjoyed a very well prepared chicken pad Thai and she enjoyed a savory dish of coconut chicken curry we talked some about my childhood. She listened, nodding with empathetic mouthfuls of her meal, swallowed, and then said “Living with an unpredictable exploding  rageaholic is certainly traumatic.”

There was something about her use of the term “rageaholic” that validated all of the hiding I’d done as a child. For starters, I’d say most of us try to stay way from or avoid people with rage. I’m going to take it a step further and say kids definitely try to hide from it because they aren’t able to name it as unhealthy, hurtful, and abusive, and simply not engage or be around the person anymore.  I spent years making myself invisible,  to avoid the inexplicable unpredictable fits of rage that were scattered throughout my home experience. I certainly didn’t want to be the cause of them, but I didn’t want to see them or risk being seen during them and then somehow in my very existence adding fuel to the fire.

Photo courtesy of Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott for Vogue Paris

The unpredictable bullying abusive tendencies of my childhood have been trying to visit my adulthood via one of my siblings. But this time around, I didn’t and don’t want to cower. I don’t want to invest in hiding, wishing myself away, doing all that I can to be invisible. I want to be seen. It’s hard to ignore what you see.

Visual art, like photography is meant to be seen. Artists don’t capture the beauty of the image to hide it, they capture it to validate it’s existence and to share it’s existence with others. At almost 30 and in a little Thai restaurant with an amazingly witty, gracious, and beautiful Jewish woman, I was reminded that I was not created to be invisible. I wasn’t gifted with all that I have been gifted with to hide it.

Photo courtesy of Solange as posted on her blog- Mydamnblog.com

You were not created to be invisible. You were not designed to blend into someone else’s background. 

It’s Monday, and today is as good a day as any to be visible. It’s as good as day as any to sit in the front row, raise your hand, verbalize your opinion, ask your question, say “no” instead of yes, wear the bright pink nail polish, rock the hip hugging mint jeans, not wear tights under that dress, throw on the heels, take out the tracks, wear the red lipstick, etc. It’s a good day to not only be alive, but to let others know you are here and you here and you are LIVE-ing.

Photo courtesy of Anonymous

Be well, be beautiful, be kind, be you, and be seen! 

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