Deny It [on Flawed Wednesday]

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Were I to give this image a title it would be called ‘Denial.’ It smacks of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: a holiday obsessed Chevy Chase pretends he is having the perfect family Christmas even as the house comes down around him. Of course, in Hollywood, denial has a happy ending for everyone but the snotty neighbors. Their suffering makes us laugh.

These days I think almost daily of the phrase Roger tossed out a few decades ago: denial is the most powerful of human capacities. He is a director of plays, a great student of human motivation. People are great at denying what they don’t like. People are great at having one too many drinks and getting behind the wheel, or texting while driving because, after all, bad things happen to other people. People are masters at pretending that they are not involved, above it all, or what they see is not happening. Ask the NRA.

The important detail that Roger understood is that denial is never passive. It abdicates responsibility. It assigns blame other places. Chinese hoax. It minimizes the impact. It paints pretty pictures of ugly situations. It throbs with intention.

Denial: the action of declaring something untrue.

Here’s the question that Roger’s observation invokes in me: at what point do we wake up and realize that we are all the snotty neighbors?

[now, don’t you wish that I’d just written about Hieronymous Bosch like I intended?]

 

read Kerri’s less pessimistic blog post on the PICNIC TABLE

 

 

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the picnic ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood

 

 

Stop Pretending

666. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

It’s First Thursday in Seattle which means this is the night that artist’s all over town open their studios. My studio is on the fourth floor of a very large building so it is the hearty soul that troops to the top after so many floors of art. Tonight, I forgot that it was First Thursday (I’ve been traveling and am about to leave again so I’m disoriented) and was surprised when Andre showed up at my door to see art. At first I was confused but he explained that many more people were coming up the stairs so I might want to pretend that I knew they were coming. So I did. I opened my door and pretended that I knew what was coming.

While I was pretending that I knew-what-was-coming I started wondering how often in my daily life do I trick myself into thinking that I know what is coming. The answer: most of the time! Isn’t that the very thing that wraps a dull blanket around the magic of being alive? To pretend that we know when, in fact, we can never know what’s coming. To pretend that we know is to stop seeing. To expect the same-old-thing is to miss the extraordinary and new. As I sat in my chair waiting for the hordes to ascend the stairs I realized that I am not a fortuneteller nor am I a prophet, despite my consistent investment in pretending that I am. And, when I stopped pretending that I knew what was coming the most amazing thing happened: I was completely delighted and surprised by every person who made it to the top floor and stopped by to see my paintings. It’s so easy to drop the dull blanket and see what’s in front of me instead of what I pretend is there.