That's probably the best advice my Dad's ever given me. And he's given me a lot of great advice.
I remember coming to him in tears when my first job out of college turned out to be a nightmare. He gave me the same advice his Dad had once give him: "You don't have to do something just because you're good at it. You don't have to do something just because someone asks you to. You don't have to do something just because you think you should." In effect, he was telling me it's ok to say no. For people who are "pleasers," such as myself, this hit me on the head like a ton of bricks.
He told me to Follow my Bliss when I was at a crossroads in 1989. Should I stay in Seattle, a city I loved, with a career that was going places? Or should I move to Michigan to be with my college boyfriend, who was all I could think about? I chose the latter. Sixteen years and two incredible children later, I'm so glad I listened.
So now my children are in school all day. I'm back at work, as a Substitute School Nurse in my kids' district. I love it. I worked hard for my Second Bachelors Degree in Nursing and I'm thankful for the opportunity to use it in such a joyful, helpful way.
I'm a great Mom. I'm a great School Nurse. I love my life. But something was missing. Something integral to who I AM.
I come from a long line of talented artists. Grandmother, Mother, Aunt, Sister...me? I enrolled in an art class. Call it kismet, call it serendipity -- my instructor, Lisa, has pulled from me latent talent I never knew existed. I mean, I knew there was SOMETHING. After all, my Grandmother was self-taught and produced this:
(A very young Whippy)
My Mother -- who has studied with Charles Schorre, the great water-color artist -- can do anything, from portraits to pottery. She has more talent in her little finger than any of us could ever hope to have.
My sister, who majored in Fiber Arts, blows my mind with her creativity.
Omigod! With this degree of talent in my family, I was completely terrified to pick up even a crayon. But I did. When I was in high school, my family vacationed in Louisiana's French Quarter, and I painted this view from our hotel:
I fell in love with watercolors, and painted this cabin scene:
And now, many years later, I'm starting again; attempting my first portrait. It's my son, done in colored pencil. The work is painstaking, yet therapeutic. Layers upon layers of color, the strokes meticulous and measured. I must, as my instructor says, look at my son's face "as a landscape," or else I will miss the subtle gradations of color and shadow. With each stroke, I think of my son, my life, my blessings.
It's a work in progress. He's still in "the ugly stage," as Lisa says. It's ok. I savor each stage. It may not be perfect; it may not be good. But it's bliss.
I wish for you the same. Find your bliss. It may not be easy. It may not be quick. But it's worth it...YOU'RE worth it.
It’s casual Friday. -
1 day ago