Comparison is a dream killer.
Let me share with you my own experience with said killer.
Growing up I loved to draw. Life looked out for me and encouraged it. In 5th grade our school offered strings or newspaper, but the year I entered they added advanced art. It was the only year they had it. I felt like it was there for me, this beautiful little opportunity, which changed the way I looked at the world. It was in this class, that I fell in love with drawing portraits. Drawing portraits changed the way I looked at people. I became a beauty seeker. This helped me when I got into taking pictures. The picture above was drawn by me last week.
As I progressed through school, I was encouraged. In high school I designed and created our class float every year. My senior year, we got the shop teacher to create a run-through for basketball games. I got out of my art class every home Friday basketball game to paint a banner to run-through. I was voted my artistic by my classes.
In college I didn’t take a single art class.
In the past decade I have hardly drawn.
I went years without making a beautiful sketch.
I lost touch.
What happened to the artist in me.
Why did I let my artist die?
It did morph into style and food and baking and my Farmer’s Market booth and photos and writing. I have expressed art in different ways. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic talks about living a creative life. I think I’ve nailed that for sure. But what about that little artist? I am aware that I have skill. This photo above is not something just anyone can do. I am blessed with this talent and I have kept it dormant.
Sometimes I dabbled with the idea of doing something with art. In elementary school we wrote books and they would publish them for us. At the back they would add bios, like a real book. It is so cute to look back now. Some were absurd. Some were whatever was being suggested. You’re so smart, why not be a doctor. And sometimes, sometimes I wrote art (or sometimes a cartoonist, when I broke my femur and was bed bound with a pin through my leg, I spent hours drawing Rugrat characters and Disney princess’s).
Why did I stop?
I never thought I was good enough (ugh that sentence feels ugly to write now). Even though I had lots of people who believed in me and told me I was good.
I compared myself to other artist. I looked at their work in awe.
In doing so I killed my own unique voice. For we are unprecedented. My voice is different. There is one Brittany Paulin. I am not going to draw like anyone else. My gift is mine.
Don’t dim your sparkle. Let others shine too. Think of stars. Are they in competition? No they each have there own bright light. Fucking sparkle, and allow respective space for other’s to shine. Rather than letting competition run the game, celebrate. Celebrate your own unique skill set. And celebrate other artist (people) and there gift.
Recently I have found my inner artist again.
When I began working at a local coffee shop last year, it may be cliche, but I was surrounded by some gifted artist. Gradually I began to feed my inner artist. I think my friend Julie has been a vital key in this game. We started sharing our sketch books with each other (which is incredibly vulnerable, like sharing this writing or letting someone into my apartment, it is like letting someone into my head. It is intimate). We painted a back drop for my booth at the market and things snowballed from there. We painted another vendors sign. We got canvases and painted them for each others apartments. We were asked to contribute drawing for a local adult coloring book. And in October one of my bosses requested I paint the windows for Halloween. We did for Fall. And then again last week. I posted a little pic and immediately my friend messaged me if I could paint windows for two of her businesses. I have spent at least 12 hours painting the last week. As I was outside, people called asking about me. Do you want to leave cards? Cards? I don’t have cards. I should make some.
I killed my artist for 10 years. And now she is on display in a coloring book and on windows across town. She’s hanging on the walls of my apartment. On Julie’s walls. My nephews are coloring pages I gave them. She’s at the market in the summer. Soon this sketch above will be hanging in my mother’s apartment.
She is growing strong. Creativity is like a muscles. Lately I have been flexing and working some major creative muscles. You have to exercise it, for it to grow stronger.
Believe in it. Believe in yourself. Give a shout out to other artist and their creative life. And do the same for yourself. Allow yourself to be an equal. To be enough.
When you are open, opportunity will find you. Look at how mine has opened up! Julie and I were discussing yesterday morning creating our own art/craft business. My sister suggested selling at the Covered Bridge with them. We shook on it. And we will do it. A Julie Brittany art business to come soon. The prospects are so beautiful and vast.
You are talented. You have a unique skill. An unprecedented voice. You have something to offer this world. Believe in it. Don’t kill it with comparison. Flex those creative muscles and get to work. Crush and create goals. Live that creative life, whatever it may be!