"A beautiful mess..."
“A beautiful mess…” she tried to sing the Jason Mraz song quietly to herself while standing in front of the smaller framed number 15 masterpiece on the wall of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. “a beautiful fucking mess.” And how could she not, because it was categorically an acceptable, if not perfect description of that which she was observing.
And not just the Jackson Pollack, but the whole fucking thing called life. A beautiful, inspired, confounding, mess.
Walking these rooms with all these people, watching her father get tired because he’s actively climbing the age ladder, as is her stepmother, as is everyone in there, as is she, she couldn't help but think 'this is going too rapidly." Rapidly, ever rapidly aging, growing older, Growing wiser...hopefully.
Growing wiser to the secret truth of this world we all live in that actually none of it is supposed to make any sense at all. That actually no one knows what they are doing because how could they? They’ve never done this moment before.
People die, people birth, people become addicted to drugs, people create, people cheat, people sing, people lie, people connect, people fight, people dance, people kill, people do brilliant things and people fuck up. All the time. It’s what we do. for some of us it’s what we do best. People also share and heal and walk into happy accidents over and over again. The truth, the god’s honest truth over and over again, is that we are all of us doing the best we can. In every single moment, prized or terrorized. The best we can.
Sometimes that best needs to be pushed a little harder, and sometimes that best needs to go on a vacation and stare at a calm caribbean sea. Sometimes that best needs to prove something it forgot on its way and sometimes that best remembers that there is actually nothing ever to prove in the first place. Sometimes that best feels strong and fit and healthy and sometimes that best needs to eat too much pizza and drink too many margaritas (alcoholic or otherwise).
Sometimes that best knows she is totally 100% beautiful and lovable inside and out, sometimes she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is the love she seeks. And that she absolutely deserves that love reflected back to her in a man, in a counterpart, in a loving kind and handsome partner. And sometimes she doesn’t. Sometimes she just doesn’t.
And then her father coughed in the next room asleep in her bed. she relinquished herself to the chaise in the office to spare them the hotel fees. That’s a lie, that’s not why she did it. She did it to have them close, to keep them as near to her as possible because this was her father. And she loved him and it had been too long since she’d seen him and her one intention was to get so close in three days that she could remember what it felt like to be irritated by him. But it was already the end of day two and she was nowhere close to that despite the snoring and the deep scary bronchial coughing. Nope, all that she could find upon examination was simply the deepest of love.
Leaning her head back into the leather chair behind her, she thought of that canvas, of all the colors and lines and splatters. The black on pink on yellow on white on black again. she thought of the zoomed-in close-up on that beautiful patch of green and then the far away pan out revealing the most divinely orchestrated whole. She thought of how much buzz she felt inside seeing that one piece, and of course, the picassos, the giacomettis, the rothkos, the degas...
And as the one and only charlie parker coated her eardrums lulling her to drift in a sea of thought, she thought about all the canvases and all the music that had ever conspired to inspire inside her. and she marveled at how almost all of that primordial buzz so easily transferred from artistic awareness to teenage turn-on the minute she was standing next to a tall, attractive man with, what’s that, she noticed, no ring.
The best she could, she did, as she soaked up the art and clocked the man feeling briefly for one moment the magic of possibility. And oh isn’t the magic of possibility the best kind of possible magic there is? Because whatever actually happens or doesn’t (which is ultimately the most realistic and important because it is the thing that actually happens) in the possibility, lies the creation.
The problem is any attachment we have to anything after allowing ourselves to traverse the fertile path of our imagination and actually see, actually feel, actually admit to ourselves that which we want, which we never thought we could have, not in a million years because, well, there is no way we deserve it, there is no way I, who couldn’t possibly be doing the best I can, deserve that thing which I so desperately want...any attachment to the getting of that thing we are arguing for or against in any given moment dictates...
A beautiful mess.
Because herein lies the rub. Do we deserve it? Who’s to say? Who’s really to say who deserves what? We all deserve to know ourselves as love. Easier said than done at times and conscious of it or not what we are all in fact in the process of doing. But thinking we don’t deserve it, whatever it is, will certainly keep anything from happening, let alone the thing we actually want.
It’s not meant to be understood. She heard again and again over and over. And as her eyes focused in and out on the splattered lines of number 15 she understood. Walk away. Live. breathe. Be with your father. Love him. Be with your friends. Love them. Be with yourself. Love you. It’s a mess. There is no order. There are 7 billion people learning, stretching growing all on one planet at one time. Creating, maintaining, destroying, and then back to creating. and for goodness sake, slow it all way down.
It’s ok to trust that there is order in the chaos, and it is essential to surrender to it, and to surrender all attempts to make sense of it. Look at the art. it's Nonsense. it doesn't make sense And it's one of the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen. Like her, like him, like them, like we, like she, like you, like me.
And this is the closest thing she has tasted to absolute truth, in this moment, with this painting. Knowing that one day, hopefully later than sooner, her father would leave this place. That it is in fact possible that she won’t have children. That if she wanted to express herself she would have to sit down and write despite the fact that it seemed so much easier to not. No, she would have to and she did. And good or bad, it got done.
Like life. Some things happen. Some things don’t. And we are the ones who make any of it good or bad and not just things that happen or don’t.
Looking at the Pollack painting, forgetting all about the tall man she was still clocking out of the corner of her eye, choosing instead to focus on her father, to focus on what was present before her, and inside of her, she realized this was all there was. this beautiful mess of a moment, of a day, of a week, of a month, of a year. She decided right there to drop every hurt she had ever conceived realizing they just served as thorns. Thorns she had been holding on to that kept her from realizing who she really was.
“A beautiful mess…” she sang quietly to herself again. “Like picking up trash in dresses…” Her father struggled to stand and then limped away indicating it was time to leave. He was tired. So of course they left. And as she went to catch up with him her feet spasmed in pain from her 10k training. her stepmother fell behind caught by the beauty of a Modigliani And the ringless man blew by and stared at her in the eye smiling before being escorted out of the room by his friends, leaving her standing alone, again halfway between one room and the next, halfway between one world and the next.
“What a beautiful fucking mess.”