Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012: I Have New Resolve

In my free time, I like playing around with art supplies and crafts.  This is a fact I forget far too often.  Last summer, a friend of mine led a watercolor workshop, and it was so relaxing, liberating in some small way to let that paintbrush draw wavy lines, leaves, a wash of color in the background.

Writing is the art I am most passionate about, the one where I will scrutinize every punctuation mark and word choice.  I might not let you see a poem if it's not finished.  If you look over my shoulder while I doodle, I may be distracted, but I'm never really ashamed.  I'm just having fun, so if the outcome is good, that's great.  If it's not, great.  I can always start over with a fresh sheet of paper. 

2011 was a year of ups and downs with a relatively negative undercurrent.  This is a fact I almost missed until a couple of weeks ago when I started reflecting on my year.  Too often, I kept coming back to things I should have done.  There were too many moments in my mind of, "Why didn't I...?" and "I really wish I had..." and "There was no reason for [xyz thing] to happen/not happen except for me."  While standing on the precipice of thirty, twenty-nine looked so daunting.  Sure, I may have climbed a mountain, but standing near the top doesn't feel so great when all you can see are the jagged rocks below. 

Over the holidays, there was a moment of clarity.  Sitting in my mother-in-law's dining room, I was drawing with a new set of Prismacolor markers I'd received, just making patterns, figuring out what colors were in my set.  Her husband's granddaughter (my...step-niece?  Is that a thing?) plopped down next to me with a pen, a notebook and a bag of crayons.

"Whatcha drawin'?" she asked me.

"I'm not really sure yet," I replied.  "It's been a long time since I drew anything."

"Draw a dog!" she suggested.

"Well, I'll give it a try," I told her.  "I don't think I've ever drawn a dog before."  I squinted at the paper and frowned and sighed.  I took a deep breath, thinking This isn't going to be that great.  This kid is probably expecting some professionally-drawn cartoon character.  I'm just not that good.

I slowly made a cartoony head with some Snoopy-ish ears.  I drew some eyes, a nose, started drawing some spots and a tail.  The feet were kind of a mess, but they were clearly paws.

"That's really good!" she said. "My mom draws a dog and it looks funny."

And it hit me a few days later.  Every time I'm down on myself, every time I think that something in 2011 was a terrible loss, something I did will never be good enough, something I write will never get recognized, anything like that, what I need to do is look at it through new eyes.  Yeah, a lot of bad stuff happened last year.  But there was a lot of good.  And so much of the bad can be changed by just working on myself or by having a little confidence in my abilities.

Much like making art for fun, I will always be my own worst critic.  In 2012, I hope that I can remember to strive for something beyond myself.  Less negative self-talk this year.  Maybe a little bit more of tooting my own horn.  Just a bit.


  1. I think you are awesome my dear!

  2. That sounds like an excellent plan! Definitely don't get down on yourself; you're great!

  3. i love this post! it's so easy for me too to beat myself up and focus only on the bad.

    it's hard to learn to see yourself through different eyes. i wish you much success in that endeavor this year.

    and i really hope you keep drawing! :)


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