A friend comes to the artshow and says, “I can’t get over how talented you are.”
I look around wondering if she’s speaking about someone else.
I have always known I’m a good writer. Since I can remember, writing has been my release.
But art? Nah. Not so much.
At the show this weekend there was a young 11 year-old girl whose talent runs deep. Her animal paintings are glorious expressions of her talent, and her life perspective. A pink giraffe munching on a wad of grass. Two bullfrogs vying for position on a lily pad. A jaguar sleeking across the canvas.
One or both of her parents spent the weekend with her at the show. Their support, love, enthusiasm for her work was a visible reminder of how important it is for parents to not get in the way of their child’s self-expression, dreams and talents.
My artshow space buddy, who along with me is one of the three women who form, The Basement Bombshells Art Collective, (our studios were in the basement, we drank a lot of wine together and because we sometimes worked collectively in her basement, it often looked like a bomb went off in it), was a high school art teacher. One of her former students was also in the show. In her early 20s now, this young woman’s talent is awe-inspiring. For my friend, having a former student showing her work in the same show was heart-warming and, affirming. To have played even a smal role in this young woman’s talent development made her feel proud.
I loved to draw when I was young.
Fear kept me from expressing my love of the arts.
Fear my family would mock me, laugh at me, tell me to not be so pretentious.
I know now that they weren’t doing it to be cruel. I know it was meant to protect me, the challenge was, it stopped me, dead in my tracks. I didn’t dare risk stepping outside the comfort zone of our familial boundaries where everyone had their role to play. And while mine was often called the role of ‘the brat’, being a brat did not include space to be an artist.
I remember in my teens being in a talent show. I loved to sing. All I wanted my family to tell me was how fantastic I was. What I heard was the many ways others were better than me. Again, I know they believed they were sheltering me from disappointment. Again, it kept me from taking the risks I needed to take back then to discover who and whom I wanted to be in the world.
My adult life has been the journey of uncovering my gifts.
What a wonderful journey it is!