You can’t go to Barcelona and not see Gaudi. Even without meaning to look for him, you find him around a street corner or on a park bench. At the very least he has been heavily replicated all over the tourist trade. What is particularly fascinating about Gaudi is his wild ride from a most hated architect to international sensation of modernism. When he first introduced his works, many scoffed and called them hideous pieces of architecture. Only now, after he has been gone for almost a hundred years are the crowds chanting his name and traveling the world to see his work. Such is the way with those who introduce new ideas and ways of doing things into the world, I suppose. There is a price to being innovative, but it comes with the chance to create something that nobody has ever seen before and create a revolution.
We visited the famous apartment building redesigned by Gaudi in Barcelona. In reality, he has many works throughout the city; however his three most famous sites are the Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and Casa Milá. Casa Milá, at first glance, looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss world or Alice and Wonderland. To be honest, that perception is only strengthened as you delve into its depths. It felt like I was entering the belly of some great beast. Everywhere I looked I saw natural lighting, curved walls, and surprising swirls of color.
I could see how some could see the house as an eye sore and be concerned about the effect it would have on the neighborhood aesthetic. But I respect and admire Senor Gaudi for being so unapologetically himself and being innovative when the rest of the world screamed at him that he was crazy to be pouring his whole soul into his art. He truly was taking who he was and displaying it in a very real and vulnerable way. And you can see the journey of discovery of himself as you walk through Barcelona in his apartment buildings, gaze into the symbolism of the Sagrada Familia, and stroll past the mosaics in Park Guell. In this, you see the story of Gaudi. He didn’t find himself in private; he reinvented himself over and over again as he figured out who he wanted to be. Seeing this progression showed me that I don’t need to have everything figured out right now. But i do need to be true to who I want to be. i can’t let the sneers of the bystanders and minor characters in my story stop me from creating my Sagrada Familia. And I won’t. Because change and new things are scary. But what’s scarier is waking up one day and realizing that in trying to please people now, I missed my chanting crowds in the future. Obviously I’m not in it for the people though. More than anything, I’ve come to understand that this life is mine. The only thing God ever really gave me for my own is my agency to choose who I want to be in this life; why would I go and hand it to someone else?