I remember the day I decided I wasn’t an artist.
My young high school self sat at the art classroom table, looking at a pencil drawing my friend Jennifer created. And I felt gobsmacked. The drawing depicted the lower half of several people’s legs and feet, footwear and limbs perfectly intertwined, carefully drawn with astounding detail and accuracy. As I watched the technical prowess flow through her fingers, embracing the pencil she was wielding across the paper with a seemingly casual flair, I thought to myself…
Wow. Look at her. Look at that drawing. OMG. She’s a real artist.
And I logically concluded this must be what an artist looks like.
And I realized that’s not me.
Nope. My drawings illustrated a kindergartener’s understanding of proportion and scale. I’d try to draw a cucumber and what sputtered out of my pencil looked more like a kumquat. I took one high school art class, and even though I really loved playing & creating, I concluded I wasn’t very good at this art thing, and it was time to move on.
Because, you know, I gave myself permission to pursue only those things I was “good” at. As a child, I was trained to find and focus on my strengths and potential. Once I reached high school, society’s “what are you going to do with your life” age, it really didn’t matter if I enjoyed something, I had to show some skill or talent to continue seriously pursuing it.
Life was such serious business, after all.
So my inner playful kindergartener put away her paints and forgot about creating for the fun of it for a long, long time. Until her Muse began the journey to remembering…
Finding The Playful Adventure
Over time, the paint brushes found their way back into my hands, along with knitting needles, crochet hooks, crafting, wood & tools – whatever creative avenue I could get my hands on. I began to reclaim my creative self, slowly, yet – I was hyper-focused on the outcome.
The main question in my mind was what could I make that would be useful? Not that there’s anything wrong with creating something utilitarian, like the big, fluffy pink afghan I knitted for my niece. Yet, I became so focused on the following the straight road to the finished project, in this case, the completed afghan, I lost much of the playfulness in the act of creation. I became disengaged from enjoying the present moment – the feel of the fluffy pink yarn, the sliding of the stitch from one needle to the other, the rhythmic zen movement of my knitting hands – and more focused on getting the project to completion – uh, I wonder how quickly I can whip through these rows of knitting…
Also, when my focus was exclusively on the outcome, I lost a lot of my intuitive creativeness. I knew exactly what the road looked like and the specific spot it ended. One long straight line between Point A & Point B. I was looking for the quickest way to Point B, not what would be the most adventurist or interesting path.
The big shift came when I started creating for the sake of the act of creation itself. When I was introduced to concept of intentional creativity, where we create with mindfulness, it opened up a whole new world to me.
The Claiming – Artist Andréa
I remember the day I decided to claim myself as an artist.
I was talking with my Maestra, Shiloh, and we were discussing my business branding. We spoke about all the things I do and planned to do – write poetry and stories, create paintings, develop online adventures for women – and what umbrella does it all fit under.
She said, “How about Artist Andréa”?
And that little high school girl who’s still very much alive in me thought NO! We can’t do that. I know what an artist looks like, and that’s not me.
In that split second, my authentic self arose, and gave that high school girl a big loving hug, and said, “Yes. We can claim our creative self. This is who we are and creating makes our heart sing. We get to decide & declare who we are.”
And here I am. Artist Andréa. Does it always feel comfortable declaring myself as an “Artist” in such a public way? Oh my no. When I do get uncomfortable with, I gather up those small parts of me and love up on them, and tell them our truth:
We are who we decide we are. We claim our truth, out loud.
My inquiry for you, and me, is where are the places in our lives that we are not claiming who we really are? How can we love up on those small parts of us who fear declaring our truth? What would it look like to be ourselves, out loud?
With much love for authentic self-creation,