Promise me you’ll always remember: you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. — Christopher Robin (to Pooh)
When I was a little girl I loved to draw. Faces fascinated me and eyes held a particular appeal. I liked to draw cats and dogs and horses too, but eyes were the real draw. My sister loved to write poetry and my brother to play music. Given that all four siblings had to learn an instrument, that I took dance, and sang in talent shows and in the kitchen doing the dishes with my sister Anne, it’s obvious that the arts held some import to my parents. But still, I never felt as though I was supported. I never believed my creative expressions had any relevance to my mother and father. Combined with the teasing and poking that my brother and sisters liked to dole out and which I as the youngest seemed to attract on a regular basis, I grew up believing my artistic yearnings had no value. No inherent place to shine under the sun.
And then there was the trust issue.
I didn’t trust people’s reflections of my work. In my teens, I sang and I sang. Sometimes people told me I sang like an angel. I was creative and expressive. I acted in school plays. I wrote diddly’s for class performances. When my eldest sister ran for School President, I took over the job of creating all her posters. Beatniks were in, and man, could I draw a mean cool dude. I was quick on the one-liners, and even faster on the turn of phrase. I had so much going for me and I didn’t believe it. And woe the day you tried to tell me so. I didn’t believe you either.
Fast forward a couple, okay more than a couple, of decades and here I am sailing through the twilight glow of my 50’s about to shine in my first art show, when what do I come up against? My lack of trust in what people say.
Yup. I may have grown in years, added a few pounds and many grey streaks. I may be considered wise in areas of my expertise and I may even be known as an advocate for our city’s disenfranchised. It doesn’t matter how many times I’m quoted, or how often I’m asked to speak on an issue, or represent a cause. Nope, all that I’ve done, and all that I’ve accomplished pales in the face of what’s really at the heart of my hesitancy in my creative expression. I’ve still got trust issues.
I felt it last night. As my two painting cohorts and I wrapped and taped and drilled holes for screws and wire for hangers in our canvases, one of my painting buddies looked at one of my completed pieces and said, “Wow Louise. You’re so talented.”
And that’s when it happened. That’s when the critter of self-doubt and denigration leapt onto centre stage. “Liar, liar pants on fire,” he screamed inside my head while outwardly I smiled and said, (graciously I might add) “Thank you.”
Later, as I chatted with C.C. on the phone about my excitement over the art show today, I said, “And it’s okay if I don’t sell anything. I’m just so thrilled to be doing this. It’s been so much fun just getting ready for the show and stretching my painting muscles.”
“Liar, liar pants on fire,” all the voices screamed inside my head. “You bloody well do care. It’s just you don’t want to be disappointed. You don’t want anybody to know you do care because, hell, then they might thing you’re invested in your art and oh my wouldn’t that be a tragedy. They might make fun of you, or call you names or even, horror of horrors, think you’re stupid to even try. You are such a phony. You care. It’s just you don’t trust people to like you if you’re not perfect, and you don’t trust people to be there for you — whether you fly or fall. Face it. You care. Lots. You just don’t trust people to care about you.”
Gosh, those voices can be deafening.
Fortunately, C.C. can hear the voices in my head, and call me on my shite. “Louise, that’s not true. You do care.”
He’s right. I do.
And here’s a little fact I guess I should be proud of. I’ve already sold two of my paintings just from people seeing the photos here on my blog. Both are allowing me to have the paintings at the show, complete with their little red dots that say…. I’m sold. I mean, really. I’m walking into my first art show with two paintings already sold! It’s already a success!
Take that you voice of self-doubt and denigration. Ha!
‘Cause in a world of plenty, I’ve got everything I need to trust the universe is on my side and so are my friends and family. Heck, my sister Jackie took time out from eating Moules and drinking wine in Avignon where she and her husband are currently on a 3 week tour of France just to write me a note to wish me well at the show. And Heck again! I’ve got friends who support me — when I leap and when I fall. And seriously? There’s no room to fall now. My car is packed to the gunnels with bubble-wrapped paintings and art show supplies. It’s all systems go.
Houston. We’ve got take-off. The shows a-waiting and I am trusting in the process to light up my world and give me room to shine ’cause I am. Braver than I believe!