Every once in a while, I forget that I can’t draw. I get this fabulous idea that I just have to get down on paper. (Paper? What’s that?) I can see it so clearly in my head that I rush out to the store and buy an artist’s kit with lots of cool little charcoals and pencils that have different numbers that mean nothing to me. (I know that you had to use a no. 2 pencil on those little bubble tests in school, but that’s the extent of my pencil number knowledge). There’s also these rolled pointy paper thingys. I think they call them tortillas… and of course, a gum eraser. (It’s not very good though. Tastes kinda rubbery.)
Anyway, armed with my kit, which makes me feel all professional-like, I sit down at the table, eagerly pull out the sketchbook, flip it open, and stare at the blank page.
It’s right at about this point that I remember my previous artistic endeavors…
It’s not that I think it’s a particularly bad drawing. It’s just not what I saw in my head. At all… well, there are fins.
The thing is, I’m a perfectionist, so attempting anything that I’m not all that good at is like (brutal) therapy. I have to force myself to do it. After that, I have to force myself to look at it and try not to see everything that’s wrong with it. The price of perfectionism is judging yourself by your failures rather than by your successes.
I’ve lived with this challenge all my life. I am my own worst critic (and believe me, I’ve taken some harsh criticism from others). I never realized how heartbreaking it was to view the world this way until I overheard my daughter saying the same things to herself that I have said to myself on a thousand occasions. To hear the person I love more than anything in the world bully herself for not being perfect crushed me.
I came to the realization that I have to set an example. I can’t change who I am, and I would never change who she is, but I CAN model self-acceptance, and self-love. That starts by having the courage to attempt (once again) to bring my visions to life on paper.
So, I’ve drawn Lilith and Ranove. And though they didn’t turn out quite as I envisioned them, I am proud of what I did accomplish. Because nothing is ever perfect, and at my age, it’s about time I realize that.