Believe in yourself
Every Sunday at noon, Gideon and I visit with a dear friend in Berryville. It has become one of our favorite traditions –– no matter how the week will go, we know we’ll kick it off with lovely conversation, lemonade and maybe even some kitty snuggles. You guys know I live for kitty snuggles.
The conversation varies week to week. Sometimes we’ll talk about new developments in our lives, like when Gideon started his first full-time teaching job or when our old man cat was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Sometimes we talk about the past, like our different experiences growing up. And most of the time we talk about art in some form or fashion.
Our friend is an accomplished artist who has taught us so much about creating. She lives her life in color, from the color in her hair to the paintings on her walls. With her encouragement, I’ve learned to love painting. That would surprise many people who knew me before I moved to Carroll County. See, I used to think I couldn’t make art. I couldn’t draw. I couldn’t paint. I couldn’t design anything worthwhile.
“My stick figures don’t even look like people,” I remember joking to friends in college when they asked if I planned on taking any art classes. I was convinced I couldn’t do art, so of course I couldn’t. That all changed two years ago. Gideon and I tried our hand at painting together for the first time when I discovered how expensive paintings are.
“Hey, we could just do it ourselves,” I remarked. Gideon painted a burned-out sun. I painted an abstract depiction of clouds. It wasn’t the best painting, but I just loved how it felt to make it.
So we kept creating. Since late 2017, we have created more than 40 paintings. It started as a way to fill the white space on the walls in our apartment. Now we have more paintings than we do wall space. That means I’m constantly rearranging paintings and putting something new on display. One of my college friends called our home an art gallery a few months ago. I laughed it off at first, because I didn’t consider myself an artist by any means.
But you don’t have to be well-known to be an artist. I didn’t quite realize that until our friend was telling us about her creative process one Sunday afternoon. She said she has worked on many pieces that didn’t turn out how she had hoped. That never stopped her from creating, though, and it certainly doesn’t make her any less of an artist. She taught me that art is not about perfecting every little thing all the time.
It’s a feeling you get when you’re creating and when you look at something someone else has created. If you make art, you are an artist. I’m so grateful to our friend for encouraging me to keep creating, because I’ve made a few pieces that surprised me –– I had no idea I could do something like that. It really helps you build confidence when you realize you’re capable of more than you ever expected.
Real talk: I am constantly struggling with the feeling that I’m not good enough, that I don’t fit in. But I never worry about that on Sundays at noon. Our friend helps me see the good in myself. She helps me understand that I can do things I never imagined so long as I believe in myself.
She is unabashedly herself and, from what I can tell, always has been. What you see is what you get, and I happen to love that. To our wonderful friend, thank you for being there. You are a constant source of encouragement.
I can only hope to encourage others the way you do.