How running taught me to paint.
Everyone has run long and far enough to hear the voice that says, "stop, your going to die". The initial protesting that the mind puts you through is agonizing. It tells me things like:
You don't know what you are doing.
Your going to hurt yourself.
You can't run like this, your knee is going to snap.
You just injured your back, permanently.
That's not sweat, that's spinal fluid.
If you can ignore that beast, and explain to your knee cap that it's actually just fine, and to keep going. Eventually the initial protest does stop and you calm down and it's fine. However, it took me years to find this out, and I endured years of running with all that racket in my head. Going up hill requires a whole other kind of internal coach. I never knew that same terrible voice could come at just the right moment and shout what I needed to hear to save the day.
I'm a runner. I've run about six or so Marathons, countless half Marathons and a bazillion other little 5/10/15K runs. I bring this up because I'm starting to hear that voice in my head that I hear when I'm tired and can't seem to go on, but I'm hearing it telling me to paint.
I think we all have an internal coach. Years of running has definitely put me in tune with mine, but it's only when I'm struggling that it encourages me, and tells me what I need to hear, and certainly only if I'm running. Until now.
This week the internal running coach spoke up and told me to just put some color down. It got me up out of a funk and had me try to paint something, anything.
There is a pattern here. Could my internal voice be both a discouraging and encouraging voice?
Here's my thought. When running there is a voice at the beginning telling me to stop and that I'm stupid and doing everything wrong and that I'm going to do permanent damage if I continue. I ignore it long enough and it goes away. I ignore it even longer and it comes back as a positive force. Can I harness the same voice for my paintings?
I can tell you that every single painting I look at of mine, is horrible. I know I'm supposed to be selling my artwork to everyone and I'm supposed to hype it up. But all I see is what that initial voice is telling me. It's telling me all that is wrong and all I have to learn and how I should just stop trying, that I'm doing permanent damage to my self esteem, my friends are laughing at me, my family no longer feels proud to be around me, that I should never have even tried to do art. All the horrible thoughts you could ever imagine.
Then, I ignore those thoughts, I continue anyway, and I keep going. Then, this week, it happened. Suddenly I had this thought, "Maybe I can do this?"
What a huge change. Just that minor thought, and a little glint of hope. Could I actually do this, could I create something that catches the eye and the heart of someone enough to have them say, "you know what, I think I want that in my house"? Is it possible? YES! There is a small, ever so quiet, voice in my head that is saying, "you have to admit man, those colors feel right, that scene is comforting". What! Serious. Wow.
So now, I'm excited.
I hope other artists will keep going, go past the internal protests. Move past the discouraging thoughts.
I'll probably have to fight those initial protests every day, but now I know it's possible to hear some internal encouragement. In the mean time, I know I have friends and family that do encourage me, they do support me, they are there for me. Maybe that's the internal voice I hear.
Thanks to all the support from everyone. If you are an artist, or if you are crafty and love it, try to lean on the encouragement from those that love you. It may just turn into an internal voice of encouragement and give you the confidence we all so desperately need.
I want to thank my niece Ellie for this one today, she was on my mind for this one. Her happiness is genuine and brings meaning to this world.