Back in the day I was in a fine arts program in college, where we were all identified with our artistic pursuit. Painters, sculptors, writers, actors, designers, musicians (to be broken do even more by specific instrument and musical genre). At least this is how it was when I was in school and it was the same for Bainie Brunson. We remember those days, but we don't remember when the umbrella term "creative" began to cover all of us. We just know we like it. It sounds awesome. We are creatives, keepers of secrets and knowledge.
"And we were each birthed from a lotus blossom." This is the true ridiculousness of labels, and why we love some of them.
Bainie and I met to have a walk in Hampton Park (just a tad bit poetic). You know how people often have an awkward moment upon meeting? Not with her. Bainie is one of those people who just make you feel comfortable and at ease. She is accepting, a generous listener and a wonderful conversationalist. After our time today was over, I took a look at my phone to get an estimate of how far we walked while chatting, it was about 4 miles. Two of the most underestimated experiences; a walk in the park and a chat with a new friend.
Bainie has had an fascinating road to now. A road that veered through being the buyer for a record store's punk rock section, into a stained glass factory, out of one college and into a portfolio school in South Beach. She went through amazing companies, the 2008 financial crisis and into entrepreneurial work for herself. Her road led thruogh relationships, a marriage, revelations and three kids. The latest one is a couple of months out. We laugh a bit about people and the assumption as to when a pregnant woman is due, like they are some soothsayer of the prenatal.
Bainie and I talk a lot about image, our obsession with it and the freedom of not giving a damn. I hear the phrase "fake it til you make it" a lot. It's a call to maintain the image of success before the win actually comes, a way to keep your head up. There is a darker side of this as well. Some people spend so much time maintaining the image of a thing that they don't do the work, they appreciate the push less and, sometimes, they crown themselves experts and masters. It's an obsession with the outside that leads to this, Bainie observes.
We spend some time on the obsession with youth and beauty, the idea that we should never be less than ideals. She is raining three girls, this is in the forefront of her mind. We talk about the pressure for women to be perfect, to never age, to constantly be beautiful. As her friend's sister said "A woman's power is her youth and her beauty." We talk about "Kardashian culture," about the obsession with the fleeting and the desire for real depth, for imperfection and something with texture. Bainie and I both love imperfections.
That's the best stuff; the gray hairs, the rounded belly, the lived in body and the odd walk.
We talk about the male side in that debate, the need to perform. This push to win, to be "a stud" as I have heard in more than one job. More than anything we talk about when we realized we loved ourselves. There are a million little lessons in that alone, but in the end it boils down to one simple fact. Loving yourself makes life better. After all, you are the only one who has to live with you. You learn that you need to love things like you love children. Somethings are going to go wrong, you have to love it anyway. Your body, your country, yourself, all of the children in your life.
I have reflected on time a lot. It's something we all think about. Bainie is the same. We cannot get any more of it, we cannot take it back, we spend it and move on. We just have to choose how we spend it and be happy with the purchase. Life can look a lot like a race, why are you running? Are you trying to catch the person in front of you? Stay ahead of the person behind? Or do you just love to run?
If it's the latter, then don't forget to stop and walk a bit. Enjoy the start of the day, watch the world move slowly and, if you can, take that time with a friend, new or old. Talk about life, about the struggle and the joy, be vulnerable and share. Sure some things are going to hurt, but you can't do anything about that. You can decide what you give that power to though. That's my takeaway from this morning. Love yourself, show the real you to others, be not afraid.
Before this morning, fear and memories from my last marriage kept me out of Hampton Park. It's a beautiful place. It's a tragedy I stayed away so long, but a joy to be back.
They named the place after me after all.
Favorite Dinosaur: Ankylosaurus
Why: Small, but beat up the T Rex