What was I to do? I’ve never really considered myself an artist, I mean I doodle, but who considers that art? Well, if it is an art, then it was scary to share them with others. When some people see them they wonder and kind of gaze at my drawings in a funny way, it makes me feel very vulnerable. Besides, who was I to be a “self-proclaimed” artist? That would never fly! Since I didn’t consider my doodles an option, I made my first friend a basket of cake pops. They were beautiful, tasty, and from the heart, but I didn’t feel fulfilled.
For my next project, I felt a little more comfortable, as it was for my best friend. I know the colors she likes and she loves me so much that it could have been dyed toilet paper that I dyed with food coloring, and she would have been thrilled (he, he, he…at least she makes me feel this way)! I ended up trying my hand at a lampshade. I really liked it and received a lot of great feedback from it…that helped boost my self-esteem. I began to think, “Hey, maybe I can do this!”
For my next project, I framed one of my drawings and made a frame for it (pictured above). Then I made another frame and framed a picture of a special occasion for another friend. Slowly, my reservations of sharing my worked are dwindling away.
I am realizing we all have an artist inside; it’s just expressed in different ways. I also have started to think of all of the art that I enjoy daily, and how it enhances my life. How would my morning commute be without the audio book or music I listen to? How bare and boring would the halls I walk down be without the paintings that hang there? When I go into town I admire all of the sculptors I see, and I also enjoy the graffiti art. Then I thought, “What about those high school art and vocal contests I emcee every month…am I living a lie?”
The truth is it takes vulnerability and openness to share our art. It is a piece of of our heart. We are all apprehensive and vulnerable about sharing parts of ourselves, and the possibility of being rejected. Brene Brown talks of this in her book Daring Greatly. But what really struck me is that I was basing the value of my artistic abilities based on what another might say or think…that’s not what our gifts are for.
I also have to consider what my art work does for me. When I draw or create something, it feels like I’ve escaped away to a secret place, yet I’m also very present…in between worlds I guess. When I am drawing, my hearing and awareness become keener and I suddenly hear and feel every detail and inflection. Psychologists often talk about being in flow (being fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of an activity)…this is my flow.
After getting over myself and the worry of what others might think, I am realizing and really feeling that none of that matters. I get a great release from creating it, and someone out there will enjoy it when I do share it. I look forward to finishing my project this year, and that will include an artistic piece for my cake pop friend. I am grateful that I took on the challenge, as I didn’t know the growth that would come about when I agreed to pay it forward.