Don’t you love it when an artist gives you a pep talk? Those are the pep talks that are full of words that sound beautiful, even if you are not sure what they mean when applied to you. Like the other day when my artist friend Karen said to me, “Outlaw Mama, you have to get the focus on yourself and your own expansiveness.” I am pretty sure it was a tough love moment, but the word “expansiveness” hung in the air like a colorful hot air balloon ready to take me to a new, happy place.
Karen gave me this advice after she generously let me vent for 12 minutes over some Cajun food (at Wishbone, for you locals) about how jealous I feel about other people’s successes. People like my friends. Or everyone who has ever been Freshly Pressed (a blogging coup). Or that minx Meryl Streep, who is hogging all the Oscars. (No, I don’t act, but why does she get all the big awards?) This jealousy and competitiveness burns me up inside. It’s more addicting than my iPhone. Hell, it’s more addictive than if my iPhone was covered in dark chocolate and being palmed sensuously by a J. Crew-clad Ryan Gosling.
So, yesterday I went on my run, and I decided I would turn this obsession (with other people) into art. Here was the assignment I gave myself: During my 4.5 mile run, I had to stop and take a picture of whatever was in front of me the minute I found myself ruminating about the great fortunes that have befallen other people. (Awesome huh? Maybe this month’s check for therapy should be signed over to Dr. Outlaw Mama.)
You can’t imagine how many pictures I had to take. I am surprised my iPhone didn’t burst into flames. Around mile 2 (and picture 47), I noticed that I was starting to have fun. I started to see what was around me. By the time I hit mile 3, I was almost looking forward to catching myself thinking about someone else’s book deal; or 50,000 followers; or long, skinny legs so I could take a picture of what I saw with my own eyes.
Here is a miniscule selection of what I like to call my
“I Hate Everyone Who Has Something I Want” “From Obsession to Art” series:
When I stopped in front of this wig store, I spent some quality time thinking about how wonderful it is that there are lay away plans for wigs. It was a “life is beautiful” moment.
Here’s my favorite bridge, where I am always afraid I will be struck by lightning when it’s storming.
Sweet Emmit’s, which smells like warmed beer expelled from the gut of a fraternity boy. How I love thee more than my thoughts!
I love a good bridge.
And finally, I had almost arrived at my destination downtown, where I was able to appreciate the hum of the lunchtime rush and its delicious aliveness.
Quite a variety, right? And that’s all I am asking of my brain. A little variety, so it’s not just a constant loop of thoughts about other people and their successes.
That’s not asking too much, is it?