You Suck at Art

The infamously botched "Ecce Homo" restoration

The infamously botched “Ecce Homo” fresco restoration

“I’m not creative.”

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard people say this to me during the last month. I’ve been working at possibly the best part time job ever, a pottery studio in downtown Franklin, and absolutely love it. It’s a fun environment and a truly great opportunity for me to practice patience and encouragement, namely with customers who come in already believing they will ruin any piece they try to paint because they’re “bad at art.”

We’ve got to stop believing the BS we say about ourselves.

“I’m not creative.” “I’m bad at running.” “I’m a poor communicator.” “I’m afraid of commitment.” “I can’t.” “I don’t.”

Despite the fact that we KNOW words have the power of life or death & the ability to encourage life or destruction, we don’t put that truth into practice in what we say to ourselves.

When you constantly buy into a label or belief, you become that. You get what you pay for!

In my own life, there have been SO many self-created labels that I have constantly had to unidentify with. I told myself I was awkward and weird. I convinced myself I hated things like dancing, concerts, running, outdoorsy things in general, etc. Mainly I didn’t want to give up control of others’ perceptions of me being cool or good enough.

But then I actually tried those things that I previously declared horrible. I loveeeee dancing and don’t care if I look like a total idiot (all thanks to this one time in a British nightclub…another story for another day). Concerts are so fun and in fact, I’m going to one this Friday! I’m training for a half-marathon in April and I kayaked this spring on a beautiful lake in England! And I’m not calling myself awkward anymore because, hey, I’ve outgrown that.

Point being, take what you’re afraid of, what you say you’re bad at, and just try it! Be free! As Brene Brown, sociologist and author of the incredible “The Gifts of Imperfection,” writes, “When we value being cool and in control over granting ourselves the permission to unleash the passionate, goofy, heartfelt, and soulful expressions of who we are, we betray ourselves.”

Nobody ever forgets the sting of betrayal. Self-betrayal is much more numbing and subtle…but can often be located through the way you treat others pursuing their dream or trying something that leaves them a bit vulnerable . Do you criticize, shame, or make fun of them? That’s a sign of a heart broken by self-betrayal. In the end, it hurts worse than someone else’s jokes because chances are, they’re just jealous of your courage to be vulnerable.

You know what’s great about the customers who come in saying they’re awful with paint and don’t have a creative bone in their body? Two hours later or so, they’ve created a work of art they are truly proud of. And I’m even more proud of them for beating the odds they set up against themselves!

(Also, for those who consider themselves uncreative: Creativity is one of life’s biggest not-so-shocking secrets. Everybody has it, but not everyone knows or accepts this trait. We often relegate creativity to the world of arts & crafts, perfect for Pinterest moms or Public Relations majors but never scientists or accountants. Right brained people hold a monopoly on creativity, right? But actually, if you think about it, isn’t that such a lie? Why would a HUGE element of life, creativity, be only selectively enjoyed? You can be creative…maybe you just creative using cooking or accounting or logic! Art is made with the creator’s tools of choice…whether you use numbers, words, paint, spices, constructs, or choreography,give yourself the incredible freedom to say goodbye to self-imposed BS.)