Recently I had a funny exchange with my child about why it’s important to nurture your inner artist. A slim package arrived in the mail. It was a book of poetry, songs and art I created that Bookleaf Publishing finally released in the U.S.
It was the result of a 21-day poetry challenge I began while I was visiting a friend in Canada last August/September. I had been keeping a sketch journal and posting daily haikus and tankas inspired by #vss365 prompts on Twitter (RIP) while we explored the Okanagan Valley, Vancouver, and Whistler.
Did I have what it took to write a poem every day for 21 days? I was willing to find out. I took the plunge and entered the competition.
It was a struggle to write a long-form poem every day. Especially after I returned to the States and got back to my client work. So I filled out my later-day submissions with the most popular of my Twitter tankas. Some of the longer poems I’d written early on wanted to be songs. I wasn’t sure how to do that. But because of the variety of poem length, I titled my submission: Sketches & Songs: Observations From the Edge of Love.
When Bookleaf got back to me and said they would publish my chapbook, they gave me the option to add images. I leaped at the chance to send them the drawings I’d made as I was writing the poems and songs. So now, there were artistic sketches as well as written ones in the book.
A month later, I became friends with someone who taught me how to add music to my words. That partnership blossomed, and 25 songs and a year later, I’m a songwriter and musician who does open mics and is one-half of a band, Mayberry Wine. It’s thrilling and fulfilling in a way I’ve never before experienced.
This is what I see and think about when I hold Sketches & Songs in my hand: How I’ve evolved from the scared, insecure, recently divorced single mom I was to the whole, healed, still deeply weird, and slightly broken but loved/loving person I am now. I see how far I’ve grown as a human being and an artist. And I’m proud of that.
That’s not what my child sees, however. They held my slim book of poetry, art, and songs in their hands and criticized its cover, complained about my images being in black and white, and thought it was sad that I had to purchase my author’s copy.
I could have seen everything that was missing. I could have let their critiques steal my joy. And if I was the person I had been a few years ago, it would have darkened my mood and dampened my excitement.
But I’ve learned how important it is to celebrate successes. No matter how small.
Yes, there’s always something that could be better. You could always do more. There’s always more than one way for something to play out.
But when something happens for you that is good, that you enjoy . . . when you accomplish something you’re proud of doing . . . savor that win!
Here are my thoughts on that. You can watch the video if you’re in a hurry or skip on to the end. 🙂
We’re often conditioned not to stand out, to be ashamed of how brightly we shine, to dim our light so others can feel better about themselves.
That conditioning is a lie designed to keep you down.
Your friends are the ones who want you to shine and succeed. Every win is something to celebrate. You deserve to take the time to bask in your victories.
Life is hard. Don’t make it harder by speeding by its sweet moments.
That’s your challenge: savor your wins. Bask in your glory. Share your successes.
Let me know how it goes by commenting below! You can also tag me @trulykristi on social.