I was at value village with my mom one day, a regular occurrence for us. We were looking through the art section when I came across this super strange hanging egg painting. I was immediately drawn to it. My mom commented and said it looked like a painting from Salvador Dali. I really wanted it, but I gave it some thought and decided it would not go with anything that was on my walls, so I left it. A couple weeks later, I went back on my own, and the painting was still there. Naturally, I picked it up. I brought it home and did a quick google search to see if I could find the artist. To my surprise (or maybe not; my mother is always right), it was a Dali painting. It is called “Ouefs sur le Plat sans le Plat” or “Eggs on a Plate without the Plate.” Dali described his inspiration for the painting as an “intra-uterine memory,” basically describing this exact scene as something he saw while in the womb, down to the warm colour palate and limp, hanging fried egg. I found that so strange, but in the best way. It hangs above my dining table, and I am just itching to have someone over so they can ask about the painting and I get to say the phrase “intra-uterine memory.” Like seriously, how cool is that!
This time spent alone at the thrift store, one I would frequent a lot in my childhood, made me think about how I find comfort in clutter. How I find comfort in things that are not necessarily practical but make me feel something. How I find comfort in things that do not match, in things that seem rough and worn out. How I find comfort in things that are used, that have stories of their own before I bring them home.
Growing up, my mother decorated our small apartments in this kind of fashion. Our furniture was almost always hand-me-downs from her brothers and sisters. Nothing in any of the small spaces we lived in ever matched. The idea of furniture and the general ambience of a house ‘matching’ was a foreign concept to me. Kitchen utensils, plates, bowls, were either thrifted or stolen from restaurants or workplaces. Everything in our home had a story, and it was never, “this was on sale at ikea and I thought it matched our accent chairs well, so I bought it.” It was more like, “I stole this whisk from work one day” or, “a customer read my aura and gave me this moonstone ring because she felt it matched me” or, “I found this mirror in the garbage driving home.” (all real stories from my mother).
Now, as an adult, I find myself decorating the same way. I dreamt about being able to decorate my own apartment as a child. I never saw the specifics in my mind. Just the idea of having autonomy and free will over how my space would look and feel was something I always wanted. I find myself drawn towards the weird art, the chairs with piling, the antique looking forks. I find myself drawn towards things with a backstory, things with character, and I am always able to find these types of things at thrift stores. There is something special about picking up a used item and knowing that someone else owned it, spent the necessary time with it, and decided to part ways with it. And now, in this moment, you have it. It is instances such as these that give me a sliver of insight into the connection we all have as human beings. I hope to keep the strange egg painting for a while. I think it is the first thing I have owned with a funny little backstory. I hope to be able to explain the phrase “intra-uterine memory” to the first person who asks about the painting. I hope my funny little backstory will inspire others to pick up things that have soul in them, that have character, that make them feel something. There is something indescribably comforting about things that have already been owned, and I want everyone to experience it.