My grandmother, God rest her soul, said to me, “Poetry is ugly. I just don’t like it.”.
My mother said to me, “Kids don’t need art in school. They need to learn life skills.”
Well, I hadn’t the will to tell my grandmother, but…sometimes the subject matter of a poem is ugly, but more important, it’s HONEST–and because of that, poetry can never be ugly, poetry is beautiful because honesty is beautiful. But she did so believe in keeping secrets, sweeping difficult things up under the rug, and lying to herself and everyone else about the less than socially acceptable realities of her narrow little life. I say the word ‘narrow’ because she tended to swim in a very small circle, by choice.
As for the idiotic thing my non-idiotic mother said, well, she was half right. Kids do need to learn life skills, how to balance a checkbook, budget money, so on. But children also need ART–to learn to express themselves in healthy ways. And Momma, if your child hadn’t used her art to express herself, she wouldn’t have ever been able to express herself at all, because of all the lessons she learned from her family, the one best driven home, unfortunately, was–you are to be seen and heard only when asked to do so.
As freeing as putting these thoughts of mine down on digital paper feels, as I’m writing them, I’ve got one pinky over the backspace button because I know that people don’t like for you to point it out when they’ve behaved badly, and sadly, sometimes people don’t realize how badly they’ve behaved until other folks point it out for them. Well, I’m personally not one for pointing fingers, unless I’m looking into the mirror.
It’s one thing to hit your child because she spoke out of turn. It’s another thing to emotionally punish your adult child because she took the mirror in front of her off the wall and turned it toward you…and you didn’t like what you saw. Hypothetically, of course.
And since we’re talking hypotheticals, I think I’d say…
I’m sorry if you didn’t like what you saw.
I’m even sorrier if you did.
Happiest Independence Day! 🙂