Kelly turned 12 yesterday. I can't help but think how far we have both come in 12 years. These years have brought each of us to a turning point. Kelly is on the brink of the journey to find herself and I feel that, finally, just now, as I approach 54, that I am beginning to know who I am.
It was Kelly, arriving in my life 12 years ago that taught me how to really be an artist. She taught me to see the world though the eyes of a child, where everything was new, filled with magic and wonder. She taught me not to be critical of my art, to just create. I'd watch her scribble on a sheet of paper, finish and then go on to the next sheet. She didn't judge, she did not criticize, she was caught up in the magic and pleasure of mark-making. I realized that the point was to create, not evaluate. Do one. Move on to the next one.
As she has grown, it has been my job to keep that art spirit alive in her. She came home from school one day upset because a friend was "better" at drawing than she was, because her pictures looked more like the real thing. I said, "She's not better, just different. Everyone has their own style." I caught her early enough, because she has never questioned her ability since. Not better, not worse, just different.
I used to think that I was weird because my art did not look like anyone else's. I thought that people would think me strange. And then one day, lightbulb moment! - I realized that my art doesn't look like anyone else's! - that's a good thing. I realized that what is important is not being better or worse than anyone else, but being yourself. When I started being me, people started noticing. It's a weird thing, because the moment you expose your true self, you feel most vunerable and naked to the world, really exposed. Yet, as artists, we want people to take notice. A form of communication is present in any work of art. We send out our message and we want to know someone is listening - especially if we are standing there all exposed.
I don't know where I am going with this, and I have a plane to catch in 3 hours, but I wanted to share my thoughts this fall morning when so much is changing around me. Let me leave you with this, a quote I shared with a friend last week that make a huge difference in her life ~
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~ Marianne Williamson