First, I am passionately in love with the art I am inspired to create. I excitedly get started working on it.
Then reality sets in and I start to doubt the relationship. “Are we moving too fast? Is this what I want? I’m not sure I can be happy with you.”
Finally, I trudge through the final hours of creating my art as if waiting on a phone call from an estranged lover–knowing the inevitable but not wanting to be the first to make the move.
I walk away from my art with a disgruntled expression and tuck it away in a closet so no one has to see it.
I have only been proud of a very rare few of my pieces of art. This one, in the picture, is a self portrait I completed for a contest on deviantArt. I was pretty darn tootin’ proud of the piece until (yes, the dreaded UNTIL!) I smudged a bit of the piece irreparably. It was then that my heart turned against the piece. I still submitted it to the contest but not with the same lust that I had before the dreaded smudge.
How did I hear about this contest? Through a random e-mail. The first place gets a paid trip to see the screening of the movie ‘Beautiful Creatures’ and 2 grand cash. I figured that since I was between ink drawings (between two lovers, one that I had messed up and one that was about to get dumped) I could veer off course and enter another drawing.
I spent a good solid hour taking picture after picture of my facial expressions for reference. I can honestly say that I do not mean mug very well. I then modeled the drawing in pencil and covered over it in ink. I hope I win! Winners are announced towards the end of the month.
You know how people say “Ya can’t win if you don’t enter,” and you just shrug it off? Well I couldn’t just shrug it off. I want to win. I hope I win. I put a lot of time and effort in it. I spent an hour just tracing out the proper proportions. I used up a quarter of my eraser on the wrong lines. I stepped back and tweaked it repeatedly just to make sure it was what I wanted. I slaved over this piece. I put my heart in it.
When a person puts their whole heart and effort into something, disappointment assuredly ensues if the object of her attention isn’t seen to the full potential.
For example, I can honestly say that I will be crushed if I do not at least get in the semi-finalists. You can see the entries here: They are updated as people submit. I have worked hard on this piece. I want to win. I hope with all my might that what I have created is good enough to win.
Another example would be when I entered a music contest. I thought for SURE I would win. I didn’t and I was crushed. Was I wrong to have so much confidence in my submission? I don’t think so. It was truly good. Darn it, it was GOOD. It was
the best one of the better entries. So, naturally, when the winner list came out and I was not on it, I was crushed. Devastated.
I had put my heart on my sleeve in both of these instances. I had dug deep within myself and pulled out talent to create something that I thought was beautiful and amazing, only to be rejected (and potentially rejected with my current contest entry).
What is a girl to do when they put it all out there and get rejected?
There’s only a few things she can do:
- get mad
- get sad
- get glad
Get Mad: Frustration and anger are powerful motivators *when used in the proper context.* A few years back, when I thought it a good idea to invite Sam to run with me (like he should be thankful to have been asked such a blessing…like it was a privilege to run at my SLOW pace), he would yell at me to speed up and forcefully push me. It was guaranteed that the more he yelled and harsher he got with me, the slower I ran and more upset I got. However, frustration and anger are the motivators for me to get in shape and to lose weight. I do well with using it in that context.
Get Sad: Feeling sorry for yourself is so darn easy, isn’t it? It is so easy to succumb to your feelings of inadequacy. That voice inside you tells you that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, talented enough, or ________ enough. And to be fair, I think it’s necessary to have a brief moment of sadness after you’ve been rejected. Doing so keeps the emotion alive within you and keeps you connected to what you’ve just felt. However. Wallowing in your rejection or loss will eventually consume you and you may never smile again. Sure, it’d be good to avoid all those nasty laugh lines later in life, but who’s to say those are reeeaaalllly that bad?
Get Glad: Ahhh here we are. Being thrown to the ground and stepped on gives us a unique perspective, wouldn’t you agree? Instead of looking down on the mere mortals from our tall pedestal, we are now on the ground, neighbors to dirt and shoe soles, looking upwards toward the gods. Instead of getting mad or sad, why not get glad? As PitBull says, “Took my life from negative to positive, I just want ya’ll to know that.” Turning a negative to a positive can be tricky, but it restricts the damage that could be done otherwise.
I imagine negativity to spread like venom through the veins. Suck it out before it spreads. Don’t get worked up about it or it will spread quicker. Just calmly train your body to reject it.
So here we are. How do you go outside every day knowing that you may get rejected? How does one go about making new friends with the prospect of not being liked? How do you start a new relationship? How do you end one?
In my limited experience, I have found that it is best to be true to yourself. Wear your heart on your sleeve and own it. Don’t waver. If you are a goof, be a goof. Don’t hide it or stuff it in based on the people you are around. Yea, be tactful when the situation calls for it and use discretion when you share who you truly are (for instance, revealing I am a meat eater may not go over well in an Animal Rights convention…) but in the big picture, waver for no one. Look down to no one.
Be open. Be yourself.
There will be people who step on you while you are vulnerable, those who step over you when you are hurting from rejection, but there are also those who will help you find yourself again. Someone, sometimes unexpected, will pick you up again and inspire you.
I think what I am trying to say, what I want to convey, is that opening up to people is very tough. Being real and upfront to other people about who you are is a scary and embarrassing thing, at times. Most of all, being real and upfront to yourself about who you are is the key. Live your life for you, not for another person’s approval. In the end, after all, you must stare death in the face all by yourself.
As I finish my thoughts, I wonder what small steps I can take to be a more genuine person. You know the type of person I’m talking about: The person who is fully his self. The person who stands in the hallway and reacts theatrically when he drops something on the floor, not acting for anyone but himself. The person who makes jokes that she thinks is funny to each person she is around and inevitably gets the person to laugh too. The couple who is absolutely in love and radiates it to each person in the room.
Seeing a person true to his or her self is a refreshing event, no?
-Don’t shrink away
-Speak your mind. Someone else might feel the same way you do.
-Don’t take it personal. If someone doesn’t like the way you act, tough toenails. You are who you are and there ain’ nuttin’ anyone can do about it.
-Stop talking. Let other people talk and listen.
-Reach out. Mend bad relationships. Time is precious. Tell someone close to you that you love them and that they are doing a good job at _________.
-Don’t wallow in self pity. Change what needs to be changed to get you where you want to be.
-Don’t sabotage yourself.
-Don’t be a hypocrite. This won’t happen if you are true to yourself all the time.
-Realize that life is about relationships. Don’t shut out people who care. Let them in. Be brave enough to make room for new relationships. Imagine yourself when you are very old. Will you have people surrounding you who love you or will you be alone?
-Tomorrow is a new day. You don’t have to wait to start being yourself. Be it today. Be it now.
-Write letters. I try to write a letter to my grandma at LEAST once a month, but preferably more.
-Call. Text. E-mail. Use Facebook. Stay in touch, even if just to say ‘Hey, have a great day!’ or ‘Thinkin’ of ya!’
-Most of all, put yourself out there. Take a step out of your comfort zone and you’ll be surprised at the results. Enter a contest! Upload a video to YouTube of a talent. Start your own blog or website. Promote yourself. Be proud of what you’ve got and own up to it!
My beautiful lovey, being beautiful. This was the first toy she has actually reached out for and grabbed!
My sweet love.