An Undefined Life

It’s been 9 months since I have written anything at all.  This is primarily because about a year ago, I discovered a job opening at a local Wine & Paint venue and thought to myself, “hey, I paint,” and then, “maybe I’m good enough to teach these classes.”

It was a whim, but it carried so much hope.  Could I really have a job that would both allow me to continue to stay home raising my kids, and would be an artistic and creative outlet?  Could I meet & be inspired by other artists?  Could I improve as an artist myself?

Much to my surprise, I was hired and have been working as an “Artist Instructor” since September 2016.  Quite a 180 degree turn from my last career in Financial Planning.  The heart wants what it wants and I wanted to give the artist gig a try.  But, it has been a lot more difficult than I expected and a lot more time and work.  It has put a strain on my family more than I believed it would.  It’s just not quite the right fit.

The year prior to accepting the Artist Instructor position, I had spent time working on my painting skills – entering a Plein Air competition in my local town, taking watercolor classes, and even being commissioned to do a few portraits.  I have never for a second considered myself to be a great artist, but it has been something I have always enjoyed.  It helped me to unwind.  To chill out.  Most recently, 2 of my paintings were selected to be used on the calendar to be taught at the Wine and Paint bar.  But they were crappy paintings.  I feel like I should even delete this sentence so that it doesn’t sound like I’m bragging.  I was surprised, but not proud.  These were not the best I could do.  And maybe I still don’t even know what the “best” is, or if I will even come close to reaching it.

Hobby or not, “artist” title or not, I am still an impostor.  And this past 9 months has taught me that so many times over.  Being around other artists is inspiring.  Yes, absolutely.  But, it is also discouraging.  All I can see now is how much my own talent is drowned by the other more talented artists that surround me.  I am constantly wishing that I could be more talented than I am, but it’s a pointless wish.  It actually hurts when anyone even compliments my work, because I know the truth.  I know that the sands are running out of this hourglass as I type this.  It’s just not meant to be.  But I can’t regret the effort I put into it.  I don’t regret it because the entire experience has humbled me.

For a while, this little job had given me some direction.  It had been a stop-gap solution to a confusing time in my life – finding myself in some sort of motherhood purgatory – waiting for my youngest to go to kindergarten before I go back to “real work.”  What an optimistic fool I was to believe that I could put my creativity to work.

So many times in life, I have made the right choices, the smart choices, the practical ones.  And those choices pushed me in the direction of practical careers.  And I was good at those jobs.  And I should have stayed with them.  Nothing, absolutely nothing, is more soul-crushing than having a passion for creativity, and feeling like you will never be good enough to create.

And so in the midst of feeling very sorry for myself, I imagine I sound rather dull.  And that’s ok.  Maybe I am.  But I think that I have finally realized that I am not a round peg made for a round hole.  I will never quite fit anywhere.  I am perfectly happy knowing that my life is undefined, that I cannot be summarized by the work I do, or any ridiculous measures of success that weigh heavy upon my heart.

I will never stop painting.  I will never stop writing.  But I will stop believing that I can ever live up to the titles that carry so much weight.

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