Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thank you, Barcelona

Jeffrey and I were fortunate enough to spend 8 days in Barcelona. The city is amazing. It's completely full of art, without being self-conscious or fussy. It transformed me.

This trip was the first time I really enjoyed the museums we went to: the Contemporary Museum of Art, the Dali museum in Figueures, a Joan Miro museum, and a Gaudi museum. I think what really affected me so deeply is how distinctive -- and loud -- each artist's voice was. It struck me as incredibly courageous. I'd given up on art as a young child. In our family, we had a talented artist, and then a slightly less-talented artist. And neither of those spots fell to me. So I gave up. 

My sister is 2 years older than me, and very smart. But I was precocious, and maybe slightly better than her at Chinese Chess and a few other things, and no doubt shitty about it, so she sort of gave up on it. To this day she still underestimates herself and her intelligence, and I know it's my fault. It weighs on me.

So here I was surrounded by all this art, wondering if I had done the same thing to myself; abdicated any artistic inclination simply because I wouldn't be the best at it. And not even that I wouldn't be the best at it, but that I wouldn't be any good at it at all. It struck me as a remarkably cowardly way to live.

No matter how I earn a living, I have been and will always be an editor. I edit myself constantly, afraid to say or write or do the wrong thing. And long ago, I edited art right out of myself. But what I realized is that I must accept the possibility -- even the certainty -- of mediocrity. I think that until I do, it's impossible for me to fully accept who I am. My 20s were spent getting better at things I was already good at. I hope my 30s are spent doing things I'm terrible at.

2 comments:

Jill said...

Such wisdom, my dear. Some of us become so intensely afraid of what might be born of our endeavors that we won't conceive them at all. I know that I am very guilty of this. Here's to another 5+ years of just loving the journey of exploring interests, even if we have to embrace the concept of being mediocre.

jleica said...

Bravo. Lovely thoughts here.