Thanks to this thing called ‘Memories’ on Instagram and Facebook, I was reminded today that two years ago, I spent the summer making art every single day. I did this 30 days of art thing back then, and I would stay up till around 4 or 5AM trying to come up with something original and beautiful. It made me sad just for a little while because I realized that I haven’t really been in touch with that side of myself all too much. It is more of a love-hate relationship that I share with my artistic side right now. The inspiration comes and goes, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
It isn’t because I don’t feel inspired enough. I think it is more about quality than quantity now. Even if it takes me three or four days to get through a single digital sketch, I’ll put my everything into making it the best that I can. And sometimes, in spite of everything I do, the artwork just isn’t what I initially expect it to be. There’s no way to know whether it’s going to be better or worse than what I wanted, but hey, at least I tried. So I supple probably go easy and give myself points for trying, right?
Here’s where I am going to bring out one of the most overused phrases right now: You miss 100% of the chances you don’t take. But the main conflict here is that I am a perfectionist, at least when it comes to my art, so I can’t help but feel as though I have somehow failed as an artist if I fail to reproduce my vision, even after hours and hours of the work that goes into it. And living in the day and age of social media where everything and everyone looks so polished and accomplished all the time, I feel like I’m not doing enough sometimes.
That is just the years and years of conditioning talking, though. There is no such thing as the perfect life, and everything on social media is definitely filtered and edited because obviously, nobody wants to share the messier side of their lives. So, of course, I have to keep reminding myself that I’m probably doing better than I thought I would, rather than beating myself up over something that just happened to come out wrong. Even the most carefully written recipes can go wrong sometimes. Doesn’t mean you can’t start over.
The reason I am telling you all of this is because you don’t have to be successful all the time. Of course, kids raised in brown and Asian households have been told otherwise, but some of us are trying to unlearn and move on from the kind of conditioning that glorifies burning yourself out like a candle in your quest for success. What I have realized is that as long as anybody is still trying to make it, they are somehow going to get to wherever they want to be in their lives. A couple of cuts and bruises along the way don’t really make a difference because we’re still out here, trying our very best.
And sometimes, knowing that you’re actually trying and being kind to yourself as you continue walking on your path, lifting yourself up every time you stumble and fall, letting yourself heal when you’re wounded, and most importantly, allowing yourself to walk at the pace you’re most comfortable in, is what makes all difference in the world. Give yourself a pat on the back and genuinely enjoy if the result of your work is something that makes you happy because, in the end, you’ve worked for it and definitely earned it.
If anything, even if you do mess up somewhere along the way, you’ve learned a lesson or two which is only ever a good thing. If you can make it halfway through and mess up, you can definitely go ahead and do a great job if you keep trying because the odds are going to be more in your favour with every single attempt.
All you have to do is be patient with yourself and keep trying!
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