One day this week I stopped by my sister’s house to bring her lunch. We both have this BBQ Chicken Salad we love so I was a good big sister and took her one. I was sitting next to my nephew who was drawing in his notebook (which we got for $.01 at OfficeMax last week.)
He looks up at me, quietly says “I am an artist” and goes back to coloring.
Those words gave me a serious flashback to a seminar a few years ago at a blogger convention (yep we have those). The speaker opened with something like this:
“How many of you are artists? Raise your hand.” I was one of maybe five people who raised our hands.
Then he asked “if this room was full of four and five year old boys and girls, how many of them do you think would raise their hands?” We laughed collectively, realizing that the answer was probably all of them.
That moment has given me pause several times over the last 24 months. What is it that happens to our self-esteem as we get older? When do we become so worried about how other people judge us we quit worrying about being true to ourselves? When did another person’s success turn US into a failure?
Maybe these aren’t issues you deal with but I do every day. With my business, my art, my weight and my life. I am always watching to see how I stack up to others.
My nephew doesn’t look at the work of Picasso, Rembrandt or Asher and think it takes away his ability to be an artist. They can all be artists together. In his four year old heart he knows there is limitless potential.
I am currently in rehearsals for a new show and I am so proud of the work I am doing. The cast is amazing. The material is stellar. It’s a more mature show than I typically do and I have welcomed the chance to really develop my acting chops. For the first time in my acting life I also have some fight scenes. My poor scene partner has taken a beating as we have figured out every fall, twist and turn (although so far I am the only one who has shed blood- it turns out having someone ALMOST poke your eye out leaves a mark).
Tonight I went to a movie and watched some incredible fight scenes. Instead of appreciating the skill and flexibility of the actors it just made me feel inadequate about my own work. It made me wonder if we need to go back and make something more complicated. Maybe ours isn’t good enough because it isn’t as good as someone who got paid millions of dollars for a movie.
In two minutes pride turns to fear of being inadequate.
I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I know most of my readers probably have something inside of them they want to express. Maybe it’s to sing a song in church. Maybe it’s that book idea that you are scared to put on paper. Maybe it’s auditioning for community theater or trying out for a sports team. Maybe it’s painting or sculpture or sewing.
We don’t create enough. We exist. We begin our days with a list of things to get done before going back to bed.
My challenge to you is this: MAKE something. DO something. TRY something. Don’t let potential failure or someone else’s success keep you from an experiment in creativity or risk.
If you fail, you know you tried.
Imagine what could happen if you succeed.
You are an amazing artist! I know this because I have read your words, seen you perform, watched you on TV, learned of your company success, and I may have even seen you play when you were your nephew’s age. Contine to reach for your art because you are already a star.
Thank you for this post. It is so true. We do let how we think others will judge us keep us from doing things. I am my happiest when I am being creative and I will try new things and if they do not come out right, I am like oh well. The doing was what made me happy and not the end result. Most things come out right anyway and the things that do not have taught me how to do it right the next time. So again, Thank You.