Today I visited the “Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road Museum.” When I entered, the first thing I saw was the Mona Lisa hanging on the wall. I was shocked to see her there! So I had to ask…
Mona Lisa! What are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be in the Louvre in France?
MONA LISA: Yes. But I had to get away from the Leonardo Di Vinci branding thing. I mean, he was a great artist and all, but I’m getting older and I don’t want to be in his shadow till the end of time. The Mona Lisa painting was his creative vision, not mine. My own creative voice is dying to come out. So I had to separate.
I know exactly what you mean. I was a professional writer for children for years and years. I loved it, but I made a lot of creative compromises because of the brands I was supposed to be representing. After a long time, I forgot why I was as a writer.
MONA LISA: I know where you’re coming from.
At some point, I realized I couldn’t think of one more song about the number three. I had to move on and find a different creative voice within myself. That’s one reason I’m here, Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road.
MONA LISA: Me too.
So, what’s your creative voice dying to blurt out?
MONA LISA: I’d love to tell the world the true, heartfelt reason I’m half smiling in my portrait. It’s kind of obvious.
MONA LISA: Well, years ago, on the morning Leonardo was painting my face, it was taking forever. I sat for hours and hours and hours. I was starving. I thought I’d pass out. I soooo needed a lunch break. So, I started thinking about all the awesome food I’d stuff my face with when we’d finally break for lunch.
MONA LISA: Bread, meat, fish, potatoes, tomatoes, kidney beans, Indian corn, chocolate, peanuts, pineapples, red and green peppers, turkeys and tapioca! And I’d wash it all down with a glass of wine.
Sounds good to me.
MONA LISA: Yup! The thought of all that food made me start to smile! But then! I stopped myself!
MONA LISA: Because I knew if I ate that feast, I’d put on weight. Quite honestly, I have the worst metabolism in the world. Whatever I eat, I wear. Immediately. I was afraid if I sat down and posed for the rest of my portrait, my stomach would stick out to the moon. Leonardo would have to repaint that section and he’d be so pissed!
I can imagine.
MONA LISA: So I stopped thinking of all that food and didn’t smile. But a second later, I started thinking of the food again because I was so hungry! I smiled! Then I stopped! I smiled! I stopped!
Hence the half smile. So what did you finally eat for lunch?
MONA LISA: Green peppers and tapioca. I tried to strike a balance. But here’s the bottom line. Now, as I’m much older, it seems like no matter what I eat, I put on weight.
You’re not alone. Years ago, I could go out for a nice, big dinner and the scale wouldn’t show it. Today, I’ll gain weight from that one stupid meal.
MONA LISA: Me too. But I’m still a foodie. I wrestle with how much I can eat vs. what’s unhealthy every day. For the most part, I stay in the healthy zone, but it’s always a struggle.
That’s true for so many of us. I guess it’s a “new normal” that comes with aging.
MONA LISA: Right. But I’m hoping, from now on, when people look at my portrait, they’ll relate to my ongoing struggle to stay at a healthy weight. I hope they’ll remember I’m always thinking of tons of food and ways I can modify eating it. Maybe it will help them, too.
Well…Mona…you’ve already helped ME.