Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's All Relative

"We don't see things as they are,
we see them as we are." - Anaïs Nin

Relativity - M.C. Escher, woodcut, July 1953

Artists have been playing with perspective since Leonardo da Vinci painted "The Last Supper" in 1498. In fact, the word "perspective" was coined in the Middle Ages, from Medieval Latin perspectīva ars the science of optics, from Latin perspicere to inspect carefully, from per- (intensive) + specere to behold].

I think all of that means "the way we look at things."

I'm going to make a confession here. I'm a romantic. On top of that, I'm an optimist.  Rose colored glasses are my favorite accessory.

Hello. My name is Pollyanna and I'm an optimistic romantic.

That's not the only confession I have to make. My daughter has encouraged me to come clean about a certain post I wrote about Valentine's Day. (If you missed it, shame on can read it HERE.)
It's not that I lied or anything. It's just that I wrote the post only from my perspective. That's allowed, isn't it? I mean, it is my blog, right? I just sort of romanticized the day a little. Okay, maybe a lot.

At any rate, during my conversation with The Graceful One about our Valentine's Day activities, I told her about the lovely walk her father and I had taken at the park that afternoon  Only I gave her a bit of a different picture than the one I painted for you. She laughed at me as only a daughter can, and I could see her shaking her head at me, head bowed, snickering to herself, all the way from Portland.

In the blog post, I told the absolute truth about our walk. Honestly, I did. I just left out half the perspective. Being the optimistic romantic Pollyanna that I am, I didn't want to include, shall we say, the "other" half of the dialogue.

Let's just say I did it to protect the innocent...or the guilty, you decide. Here's what really happened on the walk around the park that fine Valentine's Day:

We started down the path toward the pond...

[me] Isn't it beautiful out today?
[him] Jeeze, it's freezing out here.

[me] There's a nice breeze.
[him] It's freezing.

We walked to the new Big Red Barn.
I took out my camera to take its picture.

[me] Oh, just a sec, I'm taking a picture of this.
[him] Ow. What's wrong with my ankle?

Walking farther, passing the pond...

[me] Look--there are the Black Locust trees.
They'll be so gorgeous in late spring.
[him] Look at my ankle. What's wrong with it?


[me] Look up at the sky instead. Isn't it beautiful?
[him] I knew I should have brought my sunglasses.

Now approaching the far end of the park...

[me] The birds are calling all over the
[him] That's the third siren I've heard today.
That can't be good.

Up and down the gentle hills we stride...

[me] It feels so good to breathe in this fresh air.
[him] I can't believe I'm so out of shape.

A little further along...

[me] snap, snap, snapping pics
[him] Great, now my leg is cramping.

[him] What? I'm just trying to keep up my end of the conversation.

As Paul Harvey would say, "Now you know--the rest of the story."
We all have our own perspective in life. Do we choose this perspective, or are we born with it?

I have no doubt that my unerring optimism is every bit as annoying to the Titan of Industry as his unerring negativism is to me. Is one perspective more "right" than another?

The Graceful One evidently leaked the truth of the day to her fellow dancer and friend, Mary (who had commented that she liked the blog post). Mary reportedly laughed, then shrugged and said, "Every couple needs a little yin and yang."

That's it, isn't it? Adding another perspective to our own only helps to complete the picture, deepens it and gives it dimension. More perspectives, more depth and dimension.

The way I figure, you either end up with a masterpiece like DaVinci's " Last Supper" or you end up with a crazy M.C. Escher woodcut.

With my husband, it's all 'relative'.

Today, I hope you keep things in perspective.

P.S. I went for a nice long walk yesterday. I wore my rose colored sunglasses and had a perfectly lovely stroll. Alone.



  1. jo - if it's any consolation, i experience a similar sort of wobbly yin-yang balance! i've always seen the world as i wish it to be and believe that that is the way it really is. i'm simply astonished when others can't see what i see and work extra hard to share it with them. unfortunately that has the effect of compounding the agony or discomfort of their experiencing!!! cool post. way to 'fess up jo! steven

  2. Yes, Steven, it's great consolation to know I'm not alone in my quest to loan my rose colored glasses to others occasionally.

    I hadn't felt that it compounded their discomfort. Yikes. You may be right about that.

    I'll try to be more sensitive to that in the future.

    Thank you for visiting, Steven, and adding your wisdom. xoxo

  3. Hmmm... do I dare say what I am thinking?
    I too am a romantic, an optimist. I was with a man for 15 years that was neither of these. I call it a buzz kill. He couldn't balance me or I him. I finally went my seperate way. I am now with my equal and never been happier. I can't say that at first he was the romantic that I am. He has learned to appreciate getting up early on vacations to watch the sunrise. To plan trips around the full moon and to watch sunsets by the sea with a glass of champagne. Valentines day is everyday when it's filled with optimism and romance.

  4. You're in good company, because I am a hopeless romantic, as well. Love-love the Escher and who doesn't adore Rosemary?

  5. And the girl comes clean! Very funny. Although I'm not partnered up, so to speak, I am told often here that I suffer from optimisme aveugle (I'm blindly optimistic) and here in France it's as if I have some sort of rare disease that they could possible catch if not careful. I just respond to their diagnosis by explaining that it's my job because someone needs to be in charge of balance. My yin and yang, I guess.

  6. Hello Donna--of COURSE you dare say what you're thinking here. That's the whole point of this excercise, yes?

    I used to rail against what I perceived to be the negative attitude, but I've come to accept "what I cannot change" and go on about my business of being merry. I'm certain that equal amount of acceptance has been required of 'him'.

    Some days it's Escher, some days it's Da Vinci.

    You are so fortunate to have found your soulmate and be able to spend each day with him.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  7. Hi Tess! If you share the same affliction, I don't want to be cured.

    Thank you so much for visiting and leaving your thoughts.

    Rosemary is the COOLEST.

  8. Haha, Delana--optimism as a contagious disease! I think that must be how my husband feels.

    "Don't get any closer to me with that sunny might rub off on my cynicism!"

    Maybe he should move to France. ;-)

    Good to see you, Delana. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  9. I always like the truth, but love even more reading the good stuff!! My engineer hubby is nothing like me and I have grown to laugh at the canyon between us. And in the grand landscape of it all he says he lives vicariously through me. As I climb higher and find myself perhaps so high that I may loose my grip on reality, he is always there with all the gear to catch me if I fall. Now THAT's the yin to My yang. It's a good fit. Always love what yu have to think! Patty

  10. Ha ha!! This is SO hilarious! I can imagine the walk exactly. Awww ... poor Titan of Business, struggling so much. And poor you!

    You crack me up.

  11. Patty, your perspective is priceless. I should copy it and read it every day before I put my feet on the floor!

    Glad to know there are people who can laugh at the canyons!

    Thank you for your comment that shines like the sun. xoxo

  12. Hi Reya! Glad you appreciate what I go through on a daily can see now why Andrea laughed at me!

    Imagine a lifetime of witnessing this dichotomy of attitude. I'm amazed that my kids aren't totally confused about life.

    I remember the day that the Titan was fuming about a business partner who was giving him fits. I asked him how the situation made him feel. His reply was, "It make me feel like he's an idiot!"

    Some people just aren't wired like me.

    Have a rosy day, Reya! xoxo

  13. Jo, I laughed out loud at that one, priceless!
    Killin' me.

    You just keep those glasses on girlfriend.

  14. LOL...I will, Linda.

    I've tried taking them off on occasion, but the glare of unfiltered reality is painfully blinding!

    Thanks,'s so good to hear from you! xoxo

  15. GREAT post! I'm glad you told the other perspective. As funny (and pathetic) as that conversation is to read I can imagine it as if I was there with you. It sounds exactly like Dad. But at least you two were able to spend some time together no matter how frustrating it may seem for Pollyanna at times. Be thankful for that. I love you.

  16. This is TOO FUNNY! I am the eternal optimist in this household too. He is definately a pessimistic (although he says "realist".

    Still chuckling at the post, picture and of course Rosemanry! Have also loved Anais Nin too.

    Once again you have out done yourself, you just get better and better. This was a real life laugh lesson.

    Peace and so love you too!!!!!

  17. Absolutely, Andrea. I know how fortunate we really are. big hugs to you...see you soon! YAY! ♥

  18. Thank you, Vicki!

    You would be the eternal optimist in any house, my dear friend. NO contest!

    Peace and love to you, too,

  19. Give your Titan of Industry an extra big hug from me. =D

  20. I will do that, Linda. ♥

    You are so sweet.

  21. Too funny! I love Paul Harvey and in your header the colors are the same as my wedding! Powder blue and brown...Can you say...synchronicity? Did I spell it right? YOU GO GIRL!

  22. Awww...I'll bet that was a beautiful wedding. And yes, you spelled the word correctly! :-)

    Thanks, Vick. ♥


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