Curation — The Process.
Thank you for reading my process. This discovery of curation in my life. I am not really sure why this is speaking to me so loudly, it just is. It is this universal thing that we do, that most of us are completely unconscious about, but do it nonetheless. I guess, my goal, for myself and for others, is to bring the idea to the forefront of our lives, so that we mindfully, intentionally and lovingly curate our lives.
We can start right now. You do not have to be 52. This is something, an idea that can begin young. I am working with my kids on this idea. Helping them see that they are the curators of their lives. They make the cuts, the additions, the selections. We don’t always, completely get to choose, sometimes life hands us this weird bizarre piece, perhaps it conjures up feelings of panic, dread, fear, loss, abandonment, sadness, grief, pain, heartbreak. Sometimes we are given items for our collection, that we would not choose if the choosing were entirely up to us. It is our job, however, to find a way to assimilate this into our collection.
Many of us seem to feel like these odd fitting pieces should be regulated to some back room of our life museum. Some distant corridor, some one off room that no one finds easily. But I would argue that this is an interesting choice. And perhaps one that misses the point of the piece entirely.
My drunken debauchery would be a good example of the backroom curated item. I mean, who wants to put that shit front and center? I mean it is one thing to share with other drunks, but all you regular people? Really? What would the neighbors think? Well, perhaps that is the kind of question that gets me so lost..
I do not know one person, not one single person who hasn’t been affected by addiction of one kind or another. And everyone has something they over do: relationships, sex, food, shopping, gambling, love, alcohol, pills, drugs, exercise. I mean everyone can relate to the issue of overdoing something to excess which causes negative consequences in their lives and relationships. I do not think that we live in a society today where anyone could ever say that there is not something they overdo. So sharing about my drunken debauchery might help someone else. Making this a centerpiece in my curated collection, something that some people might walk in and think, “Really, she fucking led with that? Why would she do that?” But others might think, “Oh. My. God. Me too! Me fucking too!”
There are always going to fans of your curated life. And there will always be people who do not want to pay the price of admission to your work. They are not interested in you or your damn curated collection. And that is ok. Because the collection is for you, and only you. It has to make sense to you. It has to be the intentional and unintentional choices of your life, all brought together in this hodge lodge of experiences that makes your life, yours. To leave out something as central as my life as a drunk, would be to not represent myself correctly at all. Like total bait and switch. This is who I am. It isn’t all that I am, but it is a huge part.
So I am a big fan of taking the back alley stuff and making it a central exhibit in my curated life. Perhaps, not all will agree. And that is totally fine because I am not curating your life. You are. And you get to decide what comes in, what stays out, what rotates through and what is a permanent exhibit.
Curation is a process of holding on and letting go. Fighting for the things that we want to keep in our lives and doing the very painful part of letting go of things that are not right for us. Sometimes there are claw marks. Sometimes there are great disappearing acts. Works of art from your life that are burglarized in the night, and you are left with a lonely hook with nothing to show. And that is ok too.
We are not in control completely. And to think otherwise would change this idea of curation, a selection process, into something else entirely. This would be a hostage situation if the people, places and things in your life were static and unchangeable. We are always tweaking. NOT that kind of tweaking. Just making micro adjustments along the way, daily, hourly at times. Altering our lives to suit us better so that we may more wholly share them with others.
Think about it. We are the gift we give ourselves. And really the only thing we have to give others. Us. Me. That is all. I can’t give you anything that I don’t have. Love? I have to have it to give it. Worth? I have to have it to give it. Attention? I have to have it to give it. We cannot give away something we do not have. We cannot share that which we do not possess.
I must do the inner work to ever be able to have anything of value to give away. And only I can decide exactly what is giveable or shareable, and what is not.
I missed that very important point for a very long time in my life. I just gave it all. Everything I had, it didn’t matter if you were good to me or for me. I just would get lit up like the 4th of July and pour myself out and onto you. Leaving me with a great vacancy in the curation of my life. Empty hooks and wires. Rooms that were once filled with life giving art, now barren and broken.
This is part of the curation process too. Loaning out your collections and then not receiving them back. This is a lesson that we all must learn. This process whereby we give of ourselves, we love, we share and we connect, never being assured that we will receive payment in full, a return of our efforts or an appreciation of our willingness to share.
As I walk around my current gallery, I am impressed. I have to own that. I love the gathering of people, items, beings, things. I walk around my repository and smile. And even the stuff that I see that makes me shudder, I am grateful for. Because it was these hard pieces, these difficult to blend elements that created such a rich texture and flow in my life. These hard curated items have added so much, required so much more effort on my part to find a way to assimilate them into this weird, beautiful whole that is my ever evolving life.
I walk from room to room and I always have a curator’s eye. I am always seeing what needs adjustment, what needs to be rotated out, too long on display. But when I walk someone else through the great hall of my life, I can appreciate that it is perfect just as it is. Explaining the reason that person remains in my life, why that one is long gone, why I have 11 pets, why they do not. My curated life invites commentary and conversation which is the whole point. Really. My life, intentionally lived, loved and shared with other beings on the path. Fuck, isn’t that lovely?