I sat down to write more of my story tonight, and the first thing that popped into my head was Ewan MacGreggor’s opening monologue in Moulin Rouge. I don’t know if you’ve seen Moulin Rouge. If you haven’t, honestly where were you in ’01? (younger millennials get a pass)
That scene filled my head, and then the emotions behind that opening scene, once you know the ending. Going back and watching it is almost painful, as often as you come back for more. From the opening scene, you know this will be a tragedy. Still, you forget this fact throughout the wild, sometimes zany course of the film.
I was thinking about Moulin Rouge and how it’s a stroke of masterful storytelling. No matter your opinion on the movie, music or acting, it’s a love letter to so many things. It’s hard not to take away something from it.
Good stories—the best stories—leave you feeling the same way. You read or watch or listen to them for the journey, the language or the sheer beauty of it all.
I am an artist, former musician (only in my rare spare time now), and author. I have an eye for beautiful things and have always fancied peering through ugliness to find it. Ugly things happened to me in my childhood, and I think this need for beauty was sparked because of them.
And isn’t that what we’re all doing on this earth? We reach for the things that make our soul sing. Some of us build and tear down, while others create in different ways.
My father told me when I was little that art, music, and literature are interconnected. They will complement and enhance each other. It’s why a film is just a skeleton without its soundtrack and illustrated novels transcend.
You can’t totally escape the ugliness of this world. It’s all around us, sometimes within us. But it isn’t what needs to define us. If you’re brave enough and allow yourself to be vulnerable enough, you can and will overcome it. But don’t do it alone.
Seek out the beauty in the every day that you overlook.
For me, it’s a combination of art, music, and words. I don’t let a day go by when I don’t fill my senses to the brim. It keeps me inspired. And when that doesn’t work, if I need more, I walk outside in our woods. All the seemingly impossible things I face are suddenly small and quiet. How can they not when you surround yourself in beauty? In that reminder that the world is so much bigger than you.
But most of all—and I mean this in the least-cliche way possible—my son is what makes my day. I gave birth to him after losing two pregnancies back-to-back. After his birth, I was secretly terrified he wouldn’t live long. I was afraid to love him too much. He recently turned four, and I can honestly say he’s the greatest love of my life. I love him more than I’ll ever love anything or anyone else. It’s the kind of love that goes beyond comprehension. On my worst day—even on ordinary days—he says, “Mommy, I love you.” There is never another reason other than he simply does. And he tells me over and over again.
After so much heartache and loss, to be given the gift of him still makes my heart ache with happiness. Can I ever be truly unhappy with him in my life? He makes me want to be the very best version of myself, just to live up to that kind of unconditional love. I am nowhere perfect. Yet I’m so truly blessed, I hope to never take that for granted. He is my gift after my tragedy.
My wish for you today as you read this is to know that despite the ugliness we face in this life, there is always hope.
There is beauty in the small things, through the love of family and friends, or the world outside your window. Through your tragedy, you can still feel love. Know no matter where you’re at today, you are loved. May you be inspired today, friend.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:13