In the Smallest of Ways
If a poem begins this way, so do my blog posts, and my journal entries, scrapbook layouts, mini book pages, and notes scrawled on the backs of old receipts. It starts with something small but impassable that must be said, and so I say it, or rather, write it.
I write so much about the smallest pieces of life, and I've found that what I make when I work with images, paper, and glue is no different. I am not a scrapbooker who captures the biggest events, though if you were to ask, finding that curved line painted on the sidewalk after so many straight dashes across the tops of my toes was quite a win. I do not have children, nor are they part of my plan, and so there are no albums full of birthday balloons and the milestones that mark the passing of time as tiny socked feet grow into velcro sneakers, then adult laces. Instead, the milestones I map are often internal, and the photo on the page is a representation more than a reflection, and the growth is marked in attitude over appearance.
I've been thinking about all of this quite a bit lately as I've been making and sharing more, because although I can tell you, and I have, that the advice I give and am working to follow is to make and not question its value, one of my biggest obstacles has been myself and this question: could this possibly matter to anyone else?
I've noticed, the more I make and I share, that the intersection of who cares just do it and is anyone out there who is interested is this: am I good enough to keep sharing; should I take myself seriously?
This week, I've decided to entertain those questions, to let them be different than the paralyzing and fearful question of "Should I make/write it?", which is always answered with a resounding yes, and let me be more about what they are - "Should I do more with it?". I am challenging myself to use whatever answers I come up with to push me to keep going.
Yesterday I posted the following statement on a message board, and though I cringed afterward at my honesty, it's so very much true:
This year I want to get back to writing more and sharing more of what I write, even if I don't always receive a response, I want to just keep putting it out there. I'd like to trust my voice and my vision a little more, which I know will help me to put myself out there more often, and I'd really like to give my quirks more credit, and to take pieces of those quirks as artistry or talent, and to work on growing those parts of myself instead of writing them off as more trivial.
Today someone dear to me asked what would happen if I allowed myself to want it, and to go after it. What would happen, she asked, if I took the good feedback, trusted it, and allowed it to push me further than I believed I could go? What if, instead of being reliant on someone coming here and giving me feedback and cheering me on, I was joyful when it happened, but believed that even when the words aren't on the page, that someone might be out there, thinking them, cheering me on in their mind. She asked, as she is good to do, if I wasn't guilty myself of not always telling someone what I thought of who they are and what I do, and how it felt when I did and they shrugged it off as if it couldn't possible be true. You should know, of course, that I do not always take the time to write or say to others all the wonderful truths I believe about them and their work, and that it feels just awful when I feel I cannot make someone see how good and lovely they are,, making me just as human as everyone else, even though I am so well of how it feels on the other end. I suppose we are all this aware and this clueless at time, though.
And so, for the next 100 days, beginning with April 6th and, though to be fair, I've already started a bit, I will be creating a doodle each day, hopefully with the help of my friends on Instagram to supply the ideas. I will doodle an image on a 3x4 card, I will post it to Instagram each day, and I will send those cards, one by one, to anyone who wants them, and I will do this because some very kind people told me that they enjoy these doodles of mine, and I am going to choose to believe them. What a feeling that is, to choose to believe them. And if there are days when no one wants them, I will still choose to believe them, because that's what it's all about - to be the voice that keeps people going, but to also keep going when you cannot hear the voice.
I would love for you to follow along with me, to possibly want a card, and to use it however you will to put new things out into the world that you make. I've sized it for Project Life, but they could be used for anything you can imagine. Find me here: https://instagram.com/brandeye8/
In the smallest of ways, I am going to begin, again and again, taking my own advice, and making space for myself when I am just too stubborn/lazy/grumpy to do what I aspire to, and in the middle of all of that, I hope to keep coming here to get out the lump in my throat, even if there is only the trust that it makes sense to someone else.