Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Talented or Crazy?

This post might be construed as a rant.
Please do not be offended or think that I am being proud or any other unflattering term.
I just need to express something that has been on my mind too often lately.
I promise to get down off my soapbox immediately...

I play the piano.
I sing.
I cook.
I dance (or I used to when I was younger).
I have performed in plays on stage.
I can crochet and knit and do embroidery.
I create "crafts"
I create art.
I learned to do several of these things when I was very young.
Some were passions and interests.
Some were a result of boredom -
For example...
I learned to knit when our family would visit my grandparents in Idaho and there was not a lot for me to do.
I learned to do embroidery because our television died when I was in grade school and my parents didn't replace it for many years.
I learned to play the piano and dance because my mom and dad signed me up for lessons.
At first I was resentful of having to go to lessons after school instead of playing with friends...
but eventually I learned to love these things and can't imagine life without them.
I learned to draw and do "art" because my kids were little, I was a stay-at-home mom and I was trying to keep myself out of the depths of depression.
But the bottom line is...
None of these things came easily.
They all started with nothing more than a desire - sometimes my own and sometimes my parents.
I had a desire and I jumped in.
I didn't come into this world doing what I do today.
I have not ever, and will never, be considered a protege'.
I practiced and practiced and practiced.
Often, many hours a day.
I often hear things like ...
"I wish I could do that"
"You are so talented",
"It just comes so easy to you"
or my favorite...
"Is there anything you don't do?"
I'm never quite sure how to respond to those statements.
I say thank you.
And then I feel a little self-concious.
And sometimes - a little offended and ticked off.
I didn't just pick up a paint brush and start doing what I do today....
my first projects were terrible.
I mean...really bad.
Embarassingly bad.
Not one of the things I do came easy.
And I know - that for many of other "creatives" out there -
their story is very similar.
Here is what my day looks like...
I get up at 5:30 and do all of the "chores" to get myself and my daughter out the door for our day...
shower, get dressed, make something for breakfast and lunch, walk the dog, drop daughter off at school...
Then I go to my day job.
I work my 8-5 job.
I head home and change clothes.
I usually change into jeans or sweats, a t-shirt and a really "pretty" denim shirt that is absolutely covered in paint...
bottom line - I don't look very "pretty" in my evening attire.
I work with my daughter to fix a little something for dinner.
And then I go to my studio and work into the evening ...usually quite late.
When I need a break..I head over to my piano and practice singing.
If I shut down early (anytime before 9:30) -
I head to my room, where I draw and work on art pieces that will become prints until I am too tired to see straight.
On the weekends, 
I generally do marathon painting sessions - for several hours at a time.
Sometimes late into the night.
My reason for sharing this is not to brag or play the marytr but to make a point -
Art is my passion.

Music is my passion.
And those things that I want to do and do well -
I spend a lot of time doing.
 It is the first thing I think of when I wake up.
It is the last thing I think of before I go to sleep.
I make time for it...
Every. Single. Day.
When I was in high school I signed up for drama.
At the hands of my drama instructors,
I learned what it meant to be passionate about something.
I learned about the correlation between work and a superior end product.
I learned that to be excellent - you had to give up other things.
We were expected to practice every day (including weekends).
I cursed my drama teacher for her expectations.
I loved my drama teacher for the lessons I learned from her.
I learned what it meant to be passionate about something.
Every minute I spend doing my art and music is time I feel the happiest.
But there have been times I have worked on my art in tears of frustration or wonder what in the hell I am doing this for...
I do not think of myself as being gifted or special...
but I do think of myself as being driven and stubborn and even a bit obsessed.
My "talent" started as nothing more than a desire to try something new.
And when I learned that I liked that thing...I kept at it.
And continue to keep at it.
It has meant that I have missed out on some things.
For example -
although I love to socialize, I have been accused of being "too busy" to go to events or get together with people; I hardly ever go to the movies or even watch movies at home; I rarely watch tv and had to ask someone what "Duck Dynasty" was; I have missed out on a lot of sleep; I have had to miss various weekend functions because I have been sitting at an art sale manning my booth or I have been sitting in my studio filling orders; I don't drive brand new cars or have a fancy house or fancy clothes; I don't get my nails done anymore (they are always covered in paint anyway) or go on many vacations.

I do not feel like I have missed out because I am doing what I love!
I am LIVING my passion.
I have worked very, very hard to reach the place that I am at with my art.
And I do mean WORKED...
But like, most artists/creatives . . .I still believe that I have a long way to go. I want to continue to grow.
I don't think of myself as being "so talented"...but instead I am obsessed.
I don't know...it doesn't really matter.
This is who am I and I will continue to live my passion.

How about you?
So...what is it that you want to try?
What are you waiting for?
Who knows - you may find a new passion and find something that you are really "talented" at.


Giggles said...

Oh Laurie we are parallel in so many ways!! I could send this post to six people right now that need to hear this bit of reality!! Another thing I have never understood is when people say they're bored!! Impossible!!! There are so many things to do and explore!!The age old excuse "I don't have time"..."MAKE time." I say... instead of book club, and the other millions of thing you put on yourself...do something you truly love. I know I'm judged for taking time to create...but I don't care...I'm doing what I can with what I have!! I feel there is a huge internal vessel people never tap into....I pretty much did everything you did when I was young but I crocheted instead of knit...
Good for you getting it all out...
You are blessed with the gift of tenacity, and you do the right thing with that blessing!!

Hugs Giggles

nanadover said...

Thank you for putting my feelings into the words Laurie! I've had people ask me the same "is there anything you can't do?" question. I've had someone ask me if I'm as talented as my sisters. (How was I supposed to answer that?....so I just said "NO" and left them standing with their mouth open.) And I love the one...."you were born with such talent!" Like you, I have worked hard and no one will ever know how many projects I have had to throw out or start over to get the end result. Three cheers for creativity, passion, and enjoyment....mixed with hard work, some talent and lots of obsession! Hugs! PS...I think you are amazing!

Giggles said...

Oh an you are a beautiful talented spirit too!! I love your work!! Sometimes your powerful words trump the art...just for a moment though, because I love your colorful art so much!!

Had to come back because I was so taken by your words I forgot to say how beautiful this piece was!!

Girl you have a good book in you!!

Hugs Giggles