Tough Love and Art?

When my first husband turned to alcohol, I turned too, to my mother – hoping she would allow me back home with my two little ones. However she looked at me and sternly told me: “you made your bed, you lay in it”… Yes, my mom was a “tough love” advocate. Later, when that same husband started threatening to take the children, planning to do untold damage to my face, I knew that the only one who could save me, was me. I knew what my mother said was true, I had made my bed, but did I have to lay in it? I decided to stand instead.

Looking back on this time in my life I wonder, where was I?

I was 25 and absolutely dumb where it concerned life. I had graduated with a BA in Nursing, loved working with people – yet where it concerned life it was as if I had to wake up from a bad dream. Having lived with “now I’m supposed to be or do”, having gone with the tide, the highs and lows of what had been thrown at me so far, life had looked like a severe storm. The concept of “making my bed” would imply that I had had a plan and had executed it. And even after having “made” maybe 10,000 beds as a nurse, I had not yet reached the level of consciousness required to “make my bed”.

The idea of planning a life, having a recipe so to speak, a “B” point to arrive at – it had eluded me that you could do that. Life coaches, and self-improvement books with writing up goals and such were as far away as the creation of the cell phone. After all, this was 1972.

One thing that always had been like a patch of blue sky in my stormy youth and beyond had been Art. There were people who could create beautiful things that would lift you up. I watched my sisters graduating the Academy of Arts in Amsterdam. Their ability to create beauty each in their own field was breathtaking. I had been the happiest when associating with music and art. Would I be able to “make my bed” with art?

It took a while for me to get to the point where I actually could formulate “my bed”.
41 - waterIf it was up to me I would take 2 cups of sunlight and a knife to cut it up into colors, 1 pint of humor while adding some friendship and throwing it in the skillet of love. I would stir while warming it, add some grease of social graces and pour it all onto a big plate. And it would look like a “Sledge” painting. A wonder of light and dimensions, tasting like WOW! Filling me with fresh energy to lift my head and dive into life. Up to where the sky would just be the beginning, not the limit.

From way up there I would look down upon my life-span, beginning to end, and I would spot the path leading me to a kitchen of beautiful art. All I had to do now was to fill the sidewalk of my restaurant terraces with art, with tables and chairs, parasols, flowers and spread the word that the most delicious art is made in my kitchen, and we call it “Sledge Art.” And however many times you eat from it, there is always more to keep you going.

I am making my bed, and boy, do I want to lay in it!