I walk into the dimly lit hall and am instantly overwhelmed by my surroundings. Pieces of jagged marble are placed perfectly within the confinements of the room. Paintings line the walls, their edges all in alignment with each other. The paintings a mismatch of color and texture. These pieces of art all representing the amazing contributions of our world’s historical figures. I look to my right and see a crowd swarming around a painting. A hero from the civil war. His face looks stern. He sits confidently, his chest puffed out. Proud. And, well, he should be. The crowd finally disperses and I move in to take a closer look. His eyes, tired. His mouth only a small line, barely noticeable through the strain of the rest of his face.
What will you be remembered for? The man whispers.
I move into a red room where the woman who wrote The Yellow Wallpaper sits. She completely changed the way that women were perceived in relation to men. She was able to lift the facade of domesticity that veiled women in the 1800s, eventually allowing them to escape patriarchal forces. She stares at me.
What will you be remembered for? The red walls whisper.
Isn’t it amazing to re-live the lives of others? That there are museums, galleries, monuments, dedicated to recounting the stories of individuals who’ve made such major contributions to those who’ve been treated unjustly. Those who’ve fought for freedom, recognition, respect. To think that actions of passion and determination have made such a difference in the lives of so many seems almost inconceivable.
And the question remains. What will you be remembered for?
And as I sit here and watch individuals admire others for the good that they’ve done, the successes that they’ve seen, I wonder to myself, whether or not they ever recognize that these people have also experienced hardship, failure. Even more, did these historical figures know they were going to be remembered for their actions? Were they doing what they felt was right, or were their actions premeditated? Selfishly inclined?
And if they were only doing what was right, does being remembered even really matter?
As I sit here and look at the hundreds of faces staring back at me, I wonder to myself whether I want to be another face in this museum. Do I want to be remembered? And if so, what for ?