It’s day 3 for Effy’s blog along and I’m really enjoying this, it’s making me get out of my comfort zone and really think about what I am doing and what I want from my blog!
Today it’s about Happy Mail. Last night I wanted to do some watercolour work – it’s my first art love and one that I seem pretty remiss in playing with lately, so I decided to spend Friday night with a glass of wine, my watercolours and my favourite tutor Karen Campbell.
I am a member of a widow peer support group, WAY, and as part of this I am a member of the “postcard swap 2021” group. Where we have buddied up again for this year and will regularly send each other happy mail. Being widowed, you are often left alone because people don’t know what to say to you, especially as time goes on and their lives carry on, but as a widow you feel “stuck”. Stuck in that time of loss and grief, of being alone, that your life has ended along with that of the person who has actually left this earth. So as part of the peer support group we look out for each other, we build friendships, we talk to each other and we support in the lows as well as the highs of our day to day continuum. Me, I have “moved forward” (note I did not say moved on – we do not move on, we do not forget our loss, our love, our life, but we move forward carrying them with us into a new life) I have a new life and have remarried, and have stepchildren. But for someone new on the journey, just breathing or getting out of bed can seem a monumental challenge, so getting some mail from someone that “gets it” is, without doubt, a massive thing.
So, I painted postcards to send to my group with the express desire to put a smile on their face, that they know there is someone out there that gets it, understands and has their back.
I really enjoyed doing these. I slowed right down and laughed along with Karen on her videos (she really is the best tutor and makes me giggle so much!). I felt a confidence in following the tutorial and doing the drawing. I know it’s silly but a year ago I wouldn’t have been confident at putting pencil on the paper before watercolour was added. I would have made heavy pencil marks and not been able to erase them, I wouldn’t have liked the finished result, especially the “free” black outlining, and I definitely wouldn’t have been confident at hand lettering the quotes. I would have gone and found my stamps and agonised for ages about where and how to place the letter, I would have fretted that my pieces did not exactly match Karen’s and I definitely would not have gone and found my own quote for one of the images!
Oh gosh, does this mean I am becoming an artist? An artist that is able to be creative…? No I’m sure I’m not, but one day maybe I will be.
I am not a naturally confident person, I have low self esteem, so putting myself out there into the world of creativity is a big thing for me – creating art, writing a blog, posting on Instagram – this is not my natural place to be. My instinct is to say that I am not good enough, the things that I do will be seen as worthless, unworthy, silly, pathetic, rubbish. I wasn’t going to say any of this, but asking my husband to proof read this post has had us talking about me, my feelings, how I view myself and conversely how he views me. I was widowed at 42, I lost all sense of any self worth I had built up by that age (not much but my late husband was good for me and my confidence, I felt safe and secure in who I was when I was with him). When he died suddenly in 2013, I didn’t just lose him and our life together, I lost ME. Fast forward to 2021, I have just turned 50, I am in a new marriage with an amazing man and I have two amazing stepchildren. My life today is happy and full of love and joy. As a family we enjoy our every day – even the pandemic hasn’t taken this from us. I am 50, married with children, menopausal and I am finding a new side to me – I love to be at my art table producing art. But I am not confident. I follow so many tutorials – I have to follow them because I don’t feel I can create for myself, because I have no confidence. I don’t believe I am good enough to do things for myself. So when I do create something that has come via a tutorial but has been tweaked a little to be mine, I do feel immense pleasure, I feel proud, but I don’t yet feel confident.
Oh, as I’m typing I have just realised what this is, I’ve read about this – I didn’t really think it was a thing, it wouldn’t apply to me even if it was a thing – but it is a thing and it does exist – this is Impostor Syndrome isn’t it? “I am not good enough” says my inner voice all the time, no matter how many times my husband and my children tell me that I have produced something amazing, no matter if my posts on my blog get views, no matter if Instagram posts get likes.
Dreaming and having aspirations is allowed ….. isn’t it?.