Have you ever read something that evoked emotion and spoke to your soul? Madness, happiness, pride, humility, or the urge to jump but you aren't sure where? The power of words can take you from the ordinary day and put you in the place where rawness lies. The places that can sometimes be uncomfortable but tell your story in a few short, powerful lines and inspire the everyday people to be the change that world needs. I find healing and inspiration in writers of great poetry and literature. There is power in words. For a couple of weeks I have spent some time thinking of the books that I have read in the past, and the poetry that I've combed over throughout the years, looking for something inspirational to hang in my living space. I wanted something that was indicative of who I am as a person and also who we are as a family. We certainly aren't a store full of fucking Hallmark card moments. Our family is torn and tattered at times, we are pieced back together with love and affection for one another, and at the end of that reconstruction, we will take the fragmented version and turn it into a masterpiece worth hanging in even the most amazing art galleries. It needed to be all of those things with a mixture of humility and steadfast dedication. "Be the change you wish to see in the world" - Mahatma Gandhi. This is one that will forever be a mantra of mine, and while it speaks to me, it wasn't what I was looking for as an overall description of what we are as a family. "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better" - Maya Angelou. This is a quote that I use often with my children and also with new mothers. We are all lost until we find our way. We are all just doing our best with what knowledge we have at that moment in time. "It's all too much and not enough at the same time" -Jack Kerouac. I could fill my entire home with the words and Jack Kerouac. If I had to sum up the way I feel about life as a whole, that would be the one. Life is like a roller coaster that is incredibly thrilling but takes your breath and refuses to return it until you are about to turn blue. Suddenly you stop and gasp for a breath but beg to hand over your very last ticket to ride one more time. While thinking of what I needed to go in our living room, it caused my mind to wander (Big Shocker). It made me ponder over the immense power of not only the words of great authors, but my own words and the words of my children. While they can be an incredible source of inspiration, they can also be weapons of mass destruction. Months ago I noticed the fashion industry had taken a turn (told you I wandered but stay with me). Suddenly fashion, especially for children, was all about words. With almost every style of dress, there was a phrase to go along. The problem for me was that as I browsed around and picked cute shirts for my little roots, I began to realize that should I decide to purchase some of these trendy threads, a large portion of them would turn my sweet little roots into pompous, rude, and conceited little assholes before they ever step foot outside the door. "It hurts to be this awesome", "prove it at the plate", "cute like mom", "Too cool for school", "Daddy's little princess". I hadn't spent much time thinking about it at first but then as I think of something to hang in my living room that demonstrates who we are as a family, the lightbulb came on inside my mind. If I put these words across my child's chest, it speaks to others and how they feel about my roots, and also what to expect from them. Beyond that, it tells my child that his opposing baseball team is shit, and if they aren't the should "prove it at the plate". It tells my youngest root that as "Daddy's little princess", she is the equivalent of royalty and should be treated as such. And let's be honest here, yesterday I saw her eat a booger and bite off one of her toenails. She's a beautiful little root, but we aren't dealing with the Duchess of York here. With that being said, I always try to encourage my roots to be individuals and have their own sense of style, and my middle root wants words. Lucky for me I was able to find a select few fresh threads for the boy that he was not only happy with, but that had the power to touch people. "Nice is the new cool", "Be the change", "People aren't deplorable. Racism is". He loves them all, and not only do they tell people who he is, but it has the ability to change things and hopefully leaves them feeling much more inspired than "It hurts to be this awesome". Words can change the way you behave, and the way you carry yourself. As adults, we have the option to puff out our chest about current events and controversial issues and tell everyone to "Prove it at the plate", or we can "Be the change". It's okay to make noise, but if it's just noise, people will certainly cover their ears and harden their hearts to it. Which brings me back to the topic of finding the perfect excerpt or quote to hang in my living room. I can make noise. Just ask my family. But I want something different this time. Lucky for me I found exactly what I needed, and while it wasn't in the unlikeliest place, it was from an unlikely source; a children's book.
Painted like a page from a book, Willow Hill Signs made the perfect soul-song piece for my family. While it was hard for me to find the piece that spoke the full truth of our family, I knew this was the one the moment I saw it, and the fact that The Velveteen Rabbit is a story that I have read to all of my roots over the years made it much more pertinent. After I had it hung in it's forever home, just above the piano bearing 3 dead keys that my son uses to practice each week, I knew it was the perfect spot and the perfect choice. The selection of the perfect piece began as a love of words, but it quickly became more than that. It made me ponder the power of the words we attach to our soul. The words we use are powerful and much more important than clothing. Be mindful of what you say to others. Let your words swirl around your mouth before you let them go and what the words will do when hung in that perfect spot in someone's mind. "Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see" -Mark Twain. Live, Love, and Grow Roots.