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Ignore what you think of you (unless you’re thinking kind things, in which case, ignore me).

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#The100DayProject #100DaysofPaintandStraw Day 015/100

Since I started painting again, I’m having to divide my attention between the pen and the paints. I’m not complaining; my creative well is F-U-L-L — you won’t hear me bitch ’n moan about having too many ideas.

Lately, my creative landscape looks a lot like this, a lot of the time:

I’m on a writing deadline. And whenever I’m on a writing deadline, (almost) everything else can wait. Priority: keep ass in chair and write. And I love it. But I keep finding a reason to get up and sniff the paper and paints that are waiting for me.

Writing will always be my first love, and my favourite outlet for expression. She knows it. She also knows I’ve recently started rendezvousing with watercolours, and that I’m falling in love with them. And not only is she okay with it, she’s encouraging it. She’s working faster so I can finish up earlier and get painting. And I am sooo GreatFull.

So what’s the problem?

During one of my paper-sniffing, straw-blowing, painting escapades, I had a radical idea.

Uh… again, what’s the problem?

My knee-jerk reaction to shoot down my own ideas. That’s the problem. Well, it was. It’s not anymore.

Let me explain.

I had the radical idea to turn the lessons I’m learning about art and life and myself through my #100DayProject into a book when I’m done. 100 Paintings. 100 Lessons. 100 thoughts/insights/opinions on living and loving your own expression. How beautiful and incredibly useful would that be? Yes, I thought so too.

Then I looked down at the painting I’d just finished and I heard the deeply concerned (and downright hurtful) voice of doubt whisper: “Why do you even bother? Your stuff is so amateur, so childish, so dull, so very plain and ordinary and overshadowed by the work of the extraordinary artists you admire. Are you actually calling yourself an artist? Because really, I think you’re just a little girl playing dress-up, stumbling, fumbling, thinking you’re all that — pitifully unaware that you’ll never have the grace or the aptitude to work those heels or wear that makeup. Isn’t it obvious that everyone’s just politely humouring you? I think they’re probably laughing behind your back. Please, stop. You’re embarrassing yourself.”

And then Elizabeth Gilbert whispered a little louder from the pages of #BigMagic:

“Never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else’s blessing (or even comprehension) in order to make your own creative work. And always remember that people’s judgements about you are none of your business. Lastly, remember what W. C. Fields had to say on this point: “It ain’t what they call you; it’s what you answer to.” Actually, don’t even bother answering. Just keep doing your thing.”

I’ll add that this applies to your own judgements about you too. Ignore whatever unkind things you call yourself. Answer to what encourages you and helps you trust that you’ve got this. Because you do.

Your art matters (and we are all artists).
Your heart matters.
The calling to make your art and follow your heart – that matters.
It matters more than anyone else’s opinion about it.
It matters more than your own opinion about it.

What I’m saying is:

Ignore what you think of you (unless you’re thinking kind things, in which case, ignore me) and just be, do, want, make… express what feels good and meaningful and true for you.

Of course, feedforward — honest, heart-centered thoughts and ideas for making what you make even better (as opposed to feedback, which feels a lot like criticism and is usually a creativity-killer) — is wholly invaluable and hugely underrated. But if you want to live an authentic, creative, deeply fulfilling life, then you must respond to your unnecessarily unkind, overly critical (and often cruel) judgements with compassion and courage. You have to honour your expression more than your harsh criticism of your expression.

And this is why my problem is no longer a problem.

Make this declaration with me, loud and proud, over and over, until it imprints on your cells and your psyche:

My art matters (and we are all artists).
My heart matters.
The calling to make my art and follow my heart – that matters.

Art. Heart. Happiness. Yes, yes, and yes.


xo Neshika


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