Sunday 6 January 2013

It's Okay To Be Different

My eldest grandchild, Michael, is a painter.  Not a house painter.  That would be very helpful to me right now.  He's an artist.  This family has way too many artists and not nearly enough trades people.  Which means, it's very difficult to get anything fixed but we have endless ways of immortalizing whatever is broken.  At this very moment I can't drive my car unless I want to go everywhere with the alarm blaring and the lights flashing.  I'll have to drive it like that to some other woman's grandchild and get it fixed.  My grandson can paint an amazing work about the angst of public humiliation and my daughter can write a social commentary song about people who are forced to drive old, purple station wagons.  That's before we get to the ones who work in film, literature, etc!

Anyway, I'm chatting away with Michael about how he gets inspired to paint and what drives him to choose his subject matter.

I like this interpretation of an earlier, somewhat well known artist's work.  Her smile has always been considered mysterious. ~

This one may be a leetle bit easier to work into my home decor. ~

Some works are studies of humanity. ~

Some are more abstract. ~

As we talked about the nature of art and what it means to create, I asked him how living with physical limitations affected his creative choices.  Mic has Cerebral Palsy and has had to deal with impaired use of one arm and leg throughout his life.  He answered, "No more than being left handed has affected me."  

That totally took me by surprise until he explained that being left handed, in a right handed world, meant always accommodating yourself to someone else.  You have to make sure you don't bump the right handed person's elbow during dinner and accept everything being placed where it is more convenient for the bulk of the population to reach it.  He could easily rhyme off a dozen ways a left handed person tries to fit in with the rest of the world.  Having any kind of a disability is just an exaggerated case of having to fit into a world that doesn't do a heck of a lot to make sure everyone is considered.

One day, Mic decided he wasn't going to try to be like everyone else any more and started living life on his own terms.  That's when he started to really paint and he hasn't slowed down since.

It made me think of all the time we waste in our lives working at being just like everyone else.  From our hairstyles and clothing to our designer dogs and cars, we are looking to be accepted.  

The really strange part of it all is that we admire and copy people who are noticeably different.  This guy sure doesn't fit the mould but he has thousands of grown men wearing plastic bead bracelets! ~

Growing up in a family of six kids, you had to be fast to get the favourite spoon for your morning cereal  ~

The black plastic handle was rather worn.  The rest was plain old stainless steel.  So what was so wonderful about it that we all fought over it?  It was different.  There was only one and that made it special!

So, I'm thinking the first key to being inspired is to give yourself permission to be one of a kind!  

Maybe it is useful to have a grandson that is an artist.  Thanks for the inspiration Michael Grey Shepherd!
(Even if you can't fix my car)


  1. My son's a mechanic lol -
    And I'm left handed so I totally get what Michael was saying!
    Lovely boy Maureen - lucky you

  2. How wonderful! As always, your post first made me laugh and then it got me to think. It is quite obvious that you are part of an artistic family. And deliciously different :-).
    Beautiful paintings! Love the drawing. and the Mona Lisa :-)
    Hugs dear Maureen

  3. Maureen I am constantly amazed by the sheer talent in your family!! Your grandson is very artistic indeed. Although that first painting kinda scares me....I am drawn to that abstract with the blues, greens and greys. What a wonderful guy to be able to make his own mark in the world! Guess he comes by it honestly!! I never thought much about left-handedness. I will now! Thanks for introducing us to some new talent!

  4. Maureen I love this post! My first born is so different. She walks to beat of her own drummer and always has. It's not been an easy road, but now she just is who she is and loves it. I've never seen her happier. Life is all the richer for us because of the one's who 'don't fit in'!

    hugs, Linda

  5. this is such a wonderful post. This line was captivating: "Which means, it's very difficult to get anything fixed but we have endless ways of immortalizing whatever is broken." Fabulous. And Mic living on his own terms has resulted in these for-all-time creative works. Brava.

  6. I have two left-handed people in my family that say the same thing. Life is what you make of it I think and it is wonderful to not think of ones limitations as a drawback but as an asset. Cathy

  7. I am so impressed with your nephew. God bless him as he finds his OWN off the beaten path-but the right way for him. You are a wonderful writer, Maureen, and I love coming here and reading your posts. It is like sitting down to chat with an old friend (and I ain't talking age, honey) xo Diana

  8. How lovely that Mic has learned to be himself in a world that does not always celebrate uniqueness. And how wonderful that you are surrounded by artists! It is much easier (and less expensive) to hire a mechanic than it is to obtain original works of art!!
    I have a left-handed daughter, and I had never thought about the difficulties until she was small. It is a challenge.

  9. Nice post Maureen, its nice to know that Mic has found his way in this all too confusing and difficult world. He is very talented, love his work and as always love to read your posts.

  10. Well everything you wrote is true, unfortunately even the stuff about your car.


  11. I don't know what I'm more inspired by, his work or his attitude. Who wants to be the same as everyone else, that would make for a very boring world. The Mona Lisa is just amazing!

    I know what you mean about tradies though, I have one interested in Art and graphics and the other in Science. Maybe Max?? Or if I stop being sexist one of the girls.

  12. He is lucky to have found his talent. He brings up very good points about left-handed people and the issues they face. My sister is left-handed and spent her first year in school with a teacher that worked hard to make her right-handed. If had a terrible affect on her until my mother realized what was going on and rectified the situation.
    He sounds like a real gem Maureen.

  13. You are always so full of fun...let him paint your car! Then no one will notice the alarms

  14. Love this post and your description of your artists.

  15. You have quite a talented family! Love your thoughts in this post which challenge my way of thinking because in many ways, I don't like to be different. On the other hand, I married a man who loves to stand out!
    Mary Alice

  16. Very interesting blog. You are blessed with a very talented family. I am sure you have been a good influence on them.
    Audrey Z.
    Timeless Treasures

  17. I'm a new follower and I just love this post!! It's so wonderful to see a young person discover and embrace who they truly are. Good for him!! This is a harsh world sometimes, and for me creativity and self-expression are necessary survival tools.
    Tuula :)