Posted by Wafa K. | Posted on December 23, 2011
Illusions are art, for the feeling person, and it is by art that you live, if you do.
When my friend Adam told me that he had never officially ventured to the Baltimore Museum of Art which resides directly adjacent/for all intensive purposes on the Hopkins campus, I basically wept internally to myself and sat next to Edgar Degas’ Little Dancer Aged Fourteen for a bit till I felt better. With most people who tell me things that break my heart a little (“football is boring,” “I don’t read for fun,” “I’ve never seen Lord of the Rings,” “chocolate is not my favorite thing in the world,” “you can’t be African, you’re pale!” etc), I basically just pretend that it never happened, denial is not just a river in Egypt and all that, but with this – I literally was like “we need to fix this right now.” Mainly because if I like you enough as a friend, I like to share things that I enjoy (duh!) and in return, I love it when my friends challenge my experiences and perceptions. For example, I now no longer have a rudimentary stereotypical perception of Wisconsin. I actually think it is an interesting state. Also it’s state drink is milk – go figure. It also has a city that has the most outdoor public sculpture per capita of any city in North American. Things I learned from Adam while on D level during finals. The more you know, the further you go people – Reading Rainbow wasn’t lying to us.
Anyway, I actually have a point to this rambling. So we went in the midst of finals as a form of a mental break, and I art-nerded and Adam dealt with me, like only my friends know how to. My complete devotion to museums, and art museums specifically, is something that I simultaneously thank and blame my mother for entirely. When we first came to this country, my mother used to take my older sister and I to museums all the time. I grew up playing in Rotunda in the National Art Gallery, challenging my sisters to name artists in the each gallery, the butterfly enclave in the National Museum of Natural History still remains one of my favorite places on Earth. But as I got older, I had to come to the realization that that experience was something that was gifted to me by where I grew up, who my parents were and what values they passed onto me. I made friends from parts of the country that did not have museums easily accessible to them and thus had a different appreciation for aspects of it that I had taken for granted.
I actually think I was getting complacent in my trips to the BMA. I would usually make a bee-line for the impressionist gallery and/or the inner courtyard and just sit and think, read, write etc. I guess with most things, familiarity leads to a decrease in appreciation. A fresh perspective usually is enough to jolt me back to recognition of treasuring everything that I am allowed to be a part of. The BMA trip was just one example. After three and a half years at Hopkins, I only occasionally take a moment to stop and marvel at aspects of this university and my experience that are commonplace to me. The campus on an exceptionally beautiful October day, the psychedelic walls in the Tutorial office, the to-die-for truffle based drinks at Chocolatea, the stacks on D level with literature that makes me want to give up on school and just read for a living, and more than anything else – the people that I have shared even a fraction of my time here with. It is actually quite annoying how emotional I get over the fact that the sand in the hourglass of my time here is moving much more briskly than I am comfortable with. And so the point of my tale is, whether it is by inviting a friend to visit a museum that you adore or by taking a moment every time you do something that is regularly in your routine – it is worth it to remind yourself to take a breath, enjoy the moment and appreciate the little joys that often pepper our lives subconsciously.
Happy Holidays and New Year Everyone! Whatever you may celebrate (or nothing at all) – enjoy the food, family and days off of work!