During the quarantine months of summer, my daughter and I took a short road trip to my old college town of Morehead, where I spent my first two years of college. We did a quick hike to one of the places my friends and I used to go (where there may or may not have been alcohol involved) and then went to the lake to picnic. In addition to food, we packed some painting supplies and a couple of small canvases to get in touch with our inner Van Gogh.
While sitting there she saw a butterfly and decided that would be her subject for our art extravaganza. I decided to paint a picture of the beautiful scenery and the lake.
As a true perfectionist, she became frustrated when things didn't look just right. The wings may have been crooked or not perfectly proportioned. She complained that she was a terrible artist and couldn't do anything right. She wanted to throw it away.
I kept it, telling her we would work on it when she was ready and had a better mindset about it.
On our walk back to the car, I proceeded to tell her how she shouldn't talk so negatively about herself. That her painting was great and she needed to not be so hard on herself.
She then said something that will stick with me for the rest of my days...."Mom, if I do that, I get it from you. Because you never like any of the things you make or paint and you always say you aren't good at things."
My heart sank.
She was right. I NEVER feel confident about something I've made. I always see all the flaws, all the issues and I ALWAYS put myself down over it. Never seeing myself as good enough. I've gone years crafting and painting and making things and have never even referred to myself an artist! And I create things ALL the time. I have serious imposter syndrom.
And the thing that broke my heart - to the core was this was what I was showing my little girl. What's worse, I've shown this to all three of my kids!
I've shown them that it's ok to put y our work, your efforts and YOURSELF down.
As a mother I hate to hear my kids not believe in themselves. It crushes me. I just want them to see themselves through my eyes because they are so amazing and wonderful. Hearing negative comments about them just breaks my heart.
It's not ok to feed yourself negative talk. It's not ok to tell yourself you're not good enough. And it's not ok to think you can't be proud of yourself.
Since that day, I've truly tried to be more mindful of the words I say out loud and to myself about me and anything I create. I try to only say positive things. I can't say it always happens, but I do hope it's getting better. I hope that my actions now show my daughter that it's ok to tell myself I've done something really well and to be proud of what I've created. And you know what? The other day I actually introduced myself to someone as an artist. That felt weird to even say for the first time. But I said it. And I realize...I am.
I hope that you don't listen to that negative talk you can sometimes feed yourself and I hope that you realize it's perfectly fine to be proud of yourself - because, well, you're freaking amazing!
I'm super proud of this commissioned piece below that I created in August. One of my first wood art commissioned pieces and I just LOVE it.
If you'd like a custom commissioned piece for yourself or someone you love for the holidays or any other type of gift, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can do any size or shape and we can work together to make sure the colors are exactly what you're looking for.