In Support of Breaking the Rules

I’ve decided to pretend it’s sunny today in western Oregon.

If you’re here with me and you have access to a window, you know I’m actively deluding myself.

But you know what? Sometimes I need to reject the status quo no matter how ridiculous that makes me or how impossible it is.

At the moment, there’s one brave cloud who’s willing to stand up against the sea of bully clouds with me. I’ve named him Jesus because he keeps hinting that the sun exists and that a new day is coming. While all the other clouds gang up against me to shout insults and give me noogies and stuff me in my locker and cover my world with gloom, this one cloud is breaking ranks. This one cloud is willing to befriend me. This one cloud is willing to become transparent in order to bring light.

You know who I like?

Light-bringing rule breakers.

I think I’m not supposed to like rule breakers, but I do.

I like people who insist on challenging cultural norms. I like people who question everything to test it and try it and decide whether what they’re told is true is, in fact, true. I like people who are willing to be uncomfortable and authentic and make mistakes by saying what they think out loud. I like people who are mouthy. I like people who forgive easily. I like people who are trying to live full lives and love others well and shine their light and bring joy.

Today, in particular, I like a vandal.

I like the vandal who created this piece I saw painted on the sidewalk in Portland several weeks ago:

It stopped me in my tracks. It made me gasp, stuck as it was on the dirty ground for people to ignore and step on, a little surprise, a little piece of joy left for strangers to discover and to accept or reject with no agenda at all.

Breathe in, it says, and, indeed, I did. It was just perfect; art in the purest sense that stuns the occasional viewer into stopping and thinking and breathing.

I adored it immediately. I still do. And I’m grateful for the vandal who thought that this message was more important than following the rules that say we should make no messes and keep our neighborhoods pristine.

Sometimes, when I’ve had enough of the gloom, I pretend it’s sunny. It’s a tiny rebellion, and it makes my soul glad.

That is all for today, fellow rule breakers. Just a quiet little piece to support the resistance and a reminder for us all to transparently shine on.


ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
  1. […] a sometime Rule Breaker, perpetual Questioner, and committed Love Follower — and especially as someone who’s […]

  2. I had a similar encounter this week! Stopped in my tracks by graffiti, smiled, laughed, then said “Thank you” when I’d normally say “What gives you the right?!”

    Really enjoying your stuff Beth, please keep putting it out there.

    1. Love this, and especially love Angry or Frog that follows. Good posts, Julie.

  3. Very beautifully written!!!!

  4. Totally beside the point…

    Whenever I hear the phrase “delude myself”, I always think of that scene in The Goonies where Mikey is talking about how much he hates where they live and how he can’t wait to move and then Brand is all “What are you talking about?” and Mikey says “I was just trying to d…d…dictate myself” and Brand says “That’s *delude* yourself, dummy” and Mikey says “That’s what I said!” I giggle every time, and the fact that you said “deluding myself” made this pop in my head and I giggled again. So thanks! And now you’re probably giggling at the crazy lady with the poor grasp of grammar, so you’re welcome. 😉

    Ok, now I’m gonna go actually read what you wrote.

    1. I dunno. Dictating myself sounds rather pleasant.


  5. That is awesome! Well done, vandal. 😀

  6. I’m trying to pretend it’s sunny!!! I really am!!! STUPID rain. “breathe…..”

  7. Love it! 🙂


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