Monday, September 29, 2008

My Mom's Birthday

I am notorious for not taking pictures.
I take my camera, which sits in my purse, hanging heavily over my shoulder, and then I forget to take it out, even on special occasions like yesterday.
Today is my mom's birthday, but we went out yesterday for a nice lunch at the Olive Garden. Even though I had planned to show you pictures, I cannot, because I forgot to take out my camera. But trust me, we had a nice time.
What I do have to show you is a picture of the painting I did for my mom.  I was in a rush to finish it in time to wrap it up, shortly before we left.  
I wish I could show you a better picture of it.  But because I have not learned to scan properly, all I have to show is a crooked, digital version that, as usual, doesn't do the color justice.
I am simply going to have to learn how to scan. 
Anyway, I have never made a painting for a gift, so I was really excited to do so.  I was especially happy with how it all seemed to fall in place, from the design as well as the colors.
I had wanted to make something that would be according to my mom's style, which is the country look.  I used to be into that style years ago, though not really anymore.  I was also going to make it with colors that match her home, which does include browns, but which is lately more into white and blue.  
However, after painting the background a light blue, I wasn't pleased with the look.  I even thought of scrapping the whole idea.  I worried because I wondered if it was just a matter of not liking the color, or if it was really because of not wanting to do this painting according to my mother's style because of some underlying mother/daughter issues (I'm a psych major, people). This really bothered me.
But then, instead of doing the design and colors according to something that was simply my mother's style, I decided to do the painting according to what would be a mixture of myself, as well as my mother, and this is what I came up with, and instead of disliking the painting, which is what I had started to do, I ended up loving it.
I got the idea from Project Runway (that's why I love that show!) and that is that you have to consider your client, but you still have to be true to yourself.  
But the lesson I really learned was a lesson on how to live life, and that is that yes, you do have to consider other people, but you still have to honor yourself.
I have lived my entire life trying to be a people pleaser, even if it meant not only denying myself, but completely dishonoring myself.  And I don't mean just minor things.  I am talking about real extremes.
But we won't get into that here.
In more minor things, I am talking about denying myself my own views, which can then lead to turning around and not wanting to accept someone else in their views as well.
But life is not about living in extremes, which is what I mostly do, which is what can make life so difficult.  It is about living a life of Balance, which sounds so simple, but is so hard to do, at least for me.
Extreme is that you totally give up yourself and let someone else's view take over.  Either that, or you say, the heck with you and, out of resentment, you deny the other person their point of view.
Balance is that you honor your point of view, even if you think the other person will not accept you for it, and, in turn, even if you do not entirely accept the other person's point of view, you still accept that person, clashing views and all.
If you do that, life is much more pleasant, as well as more beautiful.
Just as the process of doing this painting was much more pleasant, and the results more beautiful.
Yes, I was a psych major.
Which can make life crazier.
As well as more meaningful.
The point is, despite any clashing mother/daughter issues, honoring myself made it so much easier to fully honor my mother, and all she did for me growing up, which was a heck of a lot.  
It also made it so much easier to say, "I love you, Mom." 
And yes, I love you, Mom.
Thank you for everything.
Happy Birthday.


Dawnie said...

hmmm I love this post. for many reasons, i love the painting to!

I'm a woman also who has put herself aside to please others. I please myself more than I used to,,but still feel I have along way to go. I used to think it was selfish when you pleased yourself, I know thats not true now, but i wonder why does it feel that way when you do it?

Anonymous said...

Fantastic painting Carol! What you said about balance... SO true! It's taken me many years to learn how much easier life can be when you let go and let live. You are a very wise woman - I love reading your posts!