That’s Ugly and You’re Stupid

If facebook is any indicator, emotions around the country are running high these days, whether that be elated or disgusted or anywhere in between. I think one of the best status updates that I saw was from my friend Lindsay- ‘Don’t forget what the U in USA stands for’. It’s kind of funny to me that voting is considered such a private act but many are so public with their opinions. I’m not bothered by it until it becomes ugly. Amongst the heated tweets (what a weird turn-of-phrase), name-calling, and wild abandon with the first amendment, I might just add this:

“Humans are the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.”- Mark Twain

Isn’t it funny that just a week ago we were all so united under the promise of candy and costumes? I’m speaking of course of Halloween. I spent the holiday dancing, teaching and then went to Schlafly Bottleworks to hear some live music. The musicians dressed as white rabbits so I went as a magician. I wore a white button down, black jacket, silver character shoes (that once belonged to my Mom), a black top hat (that yes, I already had in my possession), and black sequined shorts. Embarrassingly, I think I was the most scantily clad female in the bunch. College Halloween parties clearly haven’t left my system yet. On such a cold night, I probably ended up looking more stupid, shallow, and covered in goosebumps than anything cute. Perhaps I- along with some other people I know- should be more careful about how and what I expose of myself. Overall, the night was loud and fun and everything you’d want from a national Holiday.

Silly wabbits

The night before was what would have been my Dad’s birthday. He would have been 66. I had dinner with my Mom the night before at Tavern in Kirkwood (which I highly recommend) which I think put me in a good mind frame for the following personal holiday, a day of both celebration and sadness. Beyond the corny jokes, the over-the-top singing, the kindness and hot temper and concern for everything from the earth to the needy to his dear daughter, I miss being able to talk with my Dad about career and art and purpose on earth. Maybe blindly and stubbornly, my Dad believed in my gifts and always was there to lend an ear when I was confused or frustrated about how to use them. When I miss him most now, I wish that I could show him not that I’m some great dancer or teacher or great success (I need to work on those things anyways) but just to show him that I’m ok, healthy and for the most part, really happy.

I spent the day dancing with wonderful friends, working on a piece that I’m so excited to perform this weekend, teaching great kids at a studio that I’m proud to be a part of, and then dashing home to my little warm apartment to make dinner for my boyfriend and I don’t think I need to waffle on any more about how lucky I am- but I think my Dad would be happy to see that so much joy and love and health has entered my life. Taking a day that the year before was spent feeling pretty darn sorry for myself and instead feeling gratitude for all that has been given to me, all that I’ve worked for, and all of the luck that has come my way is a pretty beautiful thing and reason to celebrate, even if I do so without themed decor or loud declaration.

We are all entitled to our opinions and to express them as loudly or quietly as we so choose. All I know is that these opinions ALWAYS differ from someone else’s and that everything that is special or right to one person is likely wrong and weird and stupid to someone else; a decision to wear short shorts in cold fall weather, feeling joy on the anniversary of my Dad’s birth when he’s no longer around with me. I’m still all for sharing but if you object to whatever someone else finds beautiful, you don’t need to get ugly about it.

In honor of Halloween, I’m sharing these disturbing and hilarious and beautiful pieces of art from Mark Sheppard (see more here), an artist I first discovered last summer at the Art and Air Festival. I think they are fantastic. Do you? Feel free to kindly disagree.

I hope that everyone is finding joy amongst the chaos, celebration amongst the clutter, and peace within yourself. XO- your beautiful ugly closed-mouthed and over-exposed dancing friend- Jess

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