Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

Braver than I believe


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)

IMG_3912When 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.

IMG_3898I 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.

IMG_3916And 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!


Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe we each have the capacity to be the change we want to see in the world, to make a world of difference. I believe we are creative beings on the journey of our lifetimes. It's up to each of us to Live It Up and SHINE!

15 thoughts on “Braver than I believe

  1. Ahhh you bring back so many memories for me. I loved your packed car! The customers have no idea do they? I loved the energy at the art shows. I loved to stand back and listen and watch customers admire my work and I hated when they just would walk past without a glance. Today my heart goes out to the artists sitting in an empty booth as I walk by trying to not catch their eye. And it makes me want to stop and gush over their things… but I know too well… it isn’t in the $$sales as much as the affirmation. Every show I ever did was valuable in some way.. a lesson of what to do differently next time, a networking opportunity… and it was great. After I had paid my dues… my booth was usually one of the busier ones. And that is my prayer for you!


  2. By the way your work is wonderful and you have already sold two! You are way ahead of everyone else! I can’t wait to hear how it goes! Please let us in on it all!!!


  3. So excited for you. Go. Get . Em!


  4. Geeze Louise,

    You need a reminder!!

    Remember, several years and loves ago, we sat at a restaurant table? You reached across that white tablecloth, grabbed my hands (I hopefully thought a romantic moment was about to happen) and then, as you grabbed and held my gaze, you said ‘get a grip Mark, you ARE a writer’ at a time when I was struggling with my own confidence, uncomfortable calling myself by that name.

    You asked if I wrote, you asked if I got paid sometimes, you asked if it was a powerful part of my being. I said YES. You responded, ‘so, Mark, you ARE a writer, a professional writer’.

    So, Louise, you are an artist, you get paid sometimes and it is a powerful part of your being.


    Now, get over yourself and go sell some art!

    Break a leg,


    P.S.: most of us are mediocre at best when working with a brush and roller … so, look at you go!


  5. Hi Louise,
    I have been struggling with the need to write for my entire life. I am blessed to have time to do it these days and your story has emboldened me to press on. Thanks!~
    John McMahon


  6. Okay — so…. you people are amazing and awesome and wonderful and I am so appreciative of your light and love and yes!!!! YES!!!!! YES!!!!!!!

    I’ll Go. Get. Em.

    And YES! I am a professional artist.

    And YES!!!!! It is in my core. Always has been at the seat of my creative expression.

    thank you. thank you thank you.

    Can’t respond to each of you right now — I gotta go set up and get ready! (after I go into the office for a bit though as I have some things to clear up after this crazy busy week!) 🙂

    did I mention, I’m a professional multi-tasker too! 🙂


    • Thanks for sharing your beautiful “innards” w us Louise. I feel hopeful, connected and strengthened. ps Well done!


  7. Here’s hoping the walls of your dining room are empty come Monday morning!!

    You only have to trust one person to be brave. Any guesses on who that might be? 🙂


  8. Congratulations! Good luck for the best of success from your first art show. You deserve it.
    Love that Christopher Robin quote!


  9. Good Luck !! You only have to get out there and show your ‘stuff ‘and it will sell itself. Bonus when they get to meet the artist!! You will do amazing. Hugs.


  10. The wind in your wings! 8)


  11. Sooooooo wonderfully said
    and lived out
    and leaped off a cliff from:)
    well done, you…..cheering loudly and clapping my dirty hands
    and standing here in your joy as you open those petals and bloom:)


  12. Smiling at your beautiful self … have a great time!


  13. What an honor to have a show. I am so glad you put don’t the voices enough to do it! You are going to have a wonderufl time! I love the paintings too! They are marvelous!


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