Happiness, thy name is Mufasa!
Childhood was an idealistic time, for many of us, it was tinted by the rose-colored glasses we all wore. A child’s world is simple, black and white. As an adult, everything is complicated, there are 20 different aspects to just one issue. However, the lessons we learn as children are still valuable. For this whole week all I could think about was that moment in Lion King where Simba is staring up at his dead father telling him, “remember who you are”. This phrase clearly had a significant impact on me, seeping into my subconscious to come out during this trip.
Before I left for Australia, I received a lot of advice from many different people. One of these people told me that during this trip I should change my thinking and work on having a more positive outlook. I nodded to her in supplication, meanwhile my internal thoughts were “I disagree completely, I love me. Even all the negativity”. I found my negativity gave me a good perspective. But as soon as I was on this trip, I realize that what she may have been saying is that I should be open to experience in different parts of who I am. Being open and ready to experience new things can be very uncomfortable. Stepping out of your little bubble is never easy; however, you never know the rewards that await you. For example, earlier this week a friend invited me to walk around the Botanical Gardens for four hours. I myself am not much of a walker, I consider walking the evil necessity of transportation, I tend to describe myself as a couch potato. However, I could not turn down an opportunity to explore the city that I’ve paid so much to experience. So I wholeheartedly flung myself into a new experience, which turned into a good day. We walked around the garden talking about books which I thoroughly enjoyed and ended up at a live music performance along the riverfront, where I just watched the water gently crashing on the rocks and enjoying the music.
Exploring the city always turns into a lovely adventure. For instance, this most recent Saturday a group of friends and I went to as many museums as we could pack into a day: the natural history Museum with all the taxidermy animals; the Brisbane history Museum; and the Brisbane Museum of Art. As I said before, being an introverted couch potato, spending an entire day with a group of people doing outdoorsy activities is not my definition of comfort. But in Australia, as part of the “being a new person”, as I was advised to do, I’m going out and flinging myself into new experiences, like an Acrobat jumping in hopes of not needing the net. The museums were great fun!
However, I had a few not so positive thoughts about Brisbane’s Museum of Art. You walk in and one of the first installations you see is the premise of good versus evil spirits, which is visually depicted by flaring lights and dramatic drums as you look at an arrangement of dolls positioned in different interactions with each other throughout a garden. Much resembling what I would imagine a horror version of Toy story would be.
The next installation you move into, has dramatic drums beating low in the background; You find yourself standing in a room with each wall having different words on them. To the left you see “white washed”, but the real piece of art is the wall with the giant words covering it saying “Pay Attention Mother Fu*ker”. Now I must’ve missed that day in art class when just cursing was considered a work of art. Because I curse more than a sailor drinks and no one has ever said “wow that’s beautiful, you should write that down because it’s truly poetic and someone will pay you for it!” Art is supposed to be about inspiring people to think, not using foul language to get your point across. Otherwise most drunks would be renowned artists. As you might have guessed by this rant, the negative thoughts, despite my attempts to change myself, were still there. I was not enjoying this art museum, but walking around I was thinking, “Just think positively. Work on changing how you think”. And then Mufasa’s deep voice spring into my mind, “Remember who you are”. I began to have this internal debate with myself. Should I push myself to change and experience new things hoping that I’ll feel differently one day, or should I be true to myself and be happy? I found a middle ground.
I decided that if I wasn’t going to enjoy this artwork there would be no point in pushing myself to experience something new. So I decided to wander back up to the front. There I found a fountain in the middle of this art museum with a bench in front of it. I sat down on the bench and stared at the water gently flowing as the sunlight streamed in. Sitting down looking at the calm waters, I found the beauty in this place. Despite the “artwork”, and know that I’m using the word “Art” here very loosely, I was able to find a place that allowed me to experience something new; yet I was able to remain true to myself and still find enjoyment out of it. The older we get the more complicated things get. There’s no getting around complication, it is just part of life, another part of life is change.
Changing circumstances, changing landscapes, people changing, it can be difficult at times to handle. But those simple lessons that we learned in childhood can truly help us handle it. Yes, it is important to experience new things, to expand your comfort zone. But you do not need to fully change, you must remember who you are. If you remember who you are, I think you can find some happiness. And that is what I’ve gotten out of this week. That these big trips that we go on, or even the small things in life, are about figuring out who we are, so that we can stay true to ourselves and find a happy fountain in a museum filled with crap.
Till next time