Fact or Fiction — are most Historical Accounts True?

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"Americana" acrylic on canvas

“Americana” acrylic on canvas

I was sitting at my PC waiting for inspiration when my eyes caught sight of a binder on the lower shelf of our book case: “Covering America’s Past.” This brought a chuckle and I leaned down further in order to read the full title: “Discovering America’s Past.”

See what happens when you leave out only three letters. Do you wonder, as I do, how much of history is true. What has been altered, covered up or changed ever so slightly? It seems that each time a new party comes into power, the media and the administration tweak their achievements and failures here and there; and before you know it, major parts have been redacted or omitted.

Dating sites and Facebook accounts are replete with sins of omission. Calendar age may be lowered. Photos of the past are used instead of present ones. A bright and sunny profile as seen through rose-colored glasses replaces a more truthful record of past history. A fudge here, a twist there until the facts become fiction.

"Through her eyes" original drawing; live sitting

“Through her eyes” original drawing; live sitting

I had a dear aunt who simply could not tell the truth. She tried to outdo everyone. She wanted others to see her as she wanted to be seen, not as she really was. Everyone knew it and kindly listened to her stories, allowing her the satisfaction of completion. She was really a dear when it came to helping others and cheering them up. I suspect a low self-esteem kept her from being herself.

Love and tolerance sometimes demand that we accept people as they are. A positive attitude can change the way we see people and their human weaknesses. Unfortunately, we live in a society that not only expects perfection, but gloats over exposing human error.

My favorite saying has always been “There, but for the grace of God go I.” This simply implies that if I or anyone else had walked in the guilty person’s footsteps, we may have committed the same crime. In other words, we are all sinners and in need of forgiveness.

"Kindred Spirits II" acrylic on canvas

“Kindred Spirits II” acrylic on 30 x 24 canvas

The quote is attributed to John Bradford, but was also given credit to someone else even before his time. Winston Churchill repeated the phrase during his lifetime. Whoever said it first does not really matter since it is actually a paraphrase from Biblical scripture. The point is that we should be compassionate and empathetic with our fellow human beings and not so quick to condemn or criticize.

Of course, there are consequences for mistakes and sins. Some of them satisfied by a resolution of forgiveness, and others punishable by law. Thinking before you act and weighing the consequences can save you pain, anguish and punishment.

Those Awkward Moments – Filling in the Gaps

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A Joyful Heart, 11 x 14 pastel

A Joyful Heart, 11 x 14 pastel

Some things, if repeated often enough, catch on. Take the word “awkward” said in a sing song voice after someone puts their foot in their mouth or there’s a lapse in conversation.

It happens to all of us. When my husband and I were dating, he’d fill in those silent spaces by saying: “Yup, yup, yup.” I tease him about it now; but obviously, when we were getting to know each other, he felt uneasy when there was a “pregnant pause” between our exchanges.

I’m a writer and an artist by trade so I’m better on paper and canvas than in verbal discussions where the bold and the loud hold sway. Maturity and life hurdles have given me muster, but essentially “chit chat” is not one of my strong suits.

Once I bumped into a mirrored pillar in a department store and said “excuse me.” When I looked up and saw that the open-mouthed face staring back was mine, I laughed in surprise. It’s healthy to laugh at yourself. When things go wrong seeing the humor can soften a bad situation.

Like the time my teenaged boyfriend walked me home from school and the elastic around my waist band snapped. I felt my slip crumple to the ground. Hey, at least it wasn’t panties! I stepped out of the slip, rolled it in a ball and carried it under my arm as we walked home. Nothing to fret about. Just another reason to make light of an embarrassing scene.

"Kindred Spirits" 30 x 24 mixed media on canvas

“Kindred Spirits” 30 x 24 mixed media on canvas

Another time I wore my skirt inside out to a meeting. I didn’t notice until half-way through the speaker’s message, and then I turned three shades of red thinking that the frayed seams and ragged hemline announced my stupidity. A quick trip to the girl’s room fixed my dilemma before any fuss could be made of it.

Waiters and waitresses are notorious for being on the receiving end of complaints by getting skimpy tips and insults. A waitress once spilled a glass of soda into my lap and apologized profusely. I could tell by her body language and facial expression that she expected an irate tongue lashing. When I smiled and said, “Everyone makes mistakes,” she breathed a sigh of relief. How could I not forgive her when I’m a klutz myself by nature?

On the news recently, someone pulled out a gun and shot someone for spilling a cocktail on his expensive suit. Many people take offense at far less than this. The world is turning into a population of whiny, short-tempered egoists who want their lives to progress without any problems. Pity the person who gets in their way.

Awkwardness is part of growing up, for Heaven’s sake; a stage of life prone to accidents. Arms and legs grow faster than we know how to use them. One day we’re short people with the perspective of a pup, and before we know it we’re towering over our parents but still under their rule and command. This odd time needs to be handled with patience and good humor.

"Shimmy Shake" 11 x 14 acrylic in black box frame

“Shimmy Shake” 11 x 14 acrylic in red box frame

My first marriage died from lack of humor. When you can’t laugh at yourself, or you resent other people teasing you or playfully trying to ease you out of a bad moment, you’ve got a compatibility problem.

Irritable, touchy people hate it when you try to cheer them up. They’re afraid that if they laugh or give into humor they might lose control and compromise their dictatorship.

Shouting from behind may get people to move, but real leadership beckons from the front with words of encouragement that say: “You can do it! Come on – follow me; I’ll show you how. Let’s do it together.”

Patience and kindness can bridge those awkward times we find ourselves in. No one has a “right” to make other people miserable or to constantly demand his or her own way. Relationships require that both parties get something out of it. Unpleasant personal encounters and dealings with other people should always be courteous and respectful, period!

"And All that Jazz" 11 x 14 acrylic in red box frame

“And All that Jazz” 11 x 14 acrylic in red box frame