Everyone should be proud of who they are. Recently I was so inspired by a young woman I watch on YouTube. She was talking about how she hadn’t taken pride in who she is and what achievements she has gained. I felt similar as I have never really taken pride in who I am and how far I have come. I did think about doing a video for YouTube to accompany this post but, not yet.
This is a long post but it’ll be worth it 🙂
Let’s Start at the Beginning
Growing up I absolutely loved drawing, painting, writing, taking photos and creating things like websites and even paper crafts. I had no idea what I was doing but what I did know is that I loved it! I was so proud of myself and of what I had accomplished; even if it was a copied picture of my favourite cartoon character. I loved the practice it took to create things and learning new techniques that may or may not have been my own unique way of creating artwork.
At the age of 11, I started showing my family and friends what I had created. None of them really seemed interested so I set out to keep practising and one day I will wow them with my work. Note, I said WILL not might hopefully wow them. I kept going through hundreds of pictures and creative pieces that were all shot down by the people I trusted the opinions of. After a while of continuously feeling horrible after I’d finished a new piece of work, I started to criticise myself, and not just a little bit. I was very, very critical of everything I created and did, I also stopped showing people my work. I felt ashamed of who I was and became, in simple terms, a hermit. I lost the pride in myself that I had felt with no fear.
A Few Years on
Fast forward a few years and I started drawing more again. I had forgotten how much I loved it. I didn’t want to do anything else but draw, paint and create; still do. I felt a little more pride in me but not enough to build on again. I was nervous but, I set up a website and joined an artist site called DeviantArt. My first digital painting was live, I gained a bit more of my pride back and I was learning about code. No one said a bad word against any of my art or my photography. In the DeviantArt community, they help you develop as a creative in a constructive way; but I digress.
I decided a few years in that I wanted to sell art for a living and again, I was shot down by the people I trusted the opinions of. They had said that I needed a ‘real’ job. I was already training to be a web designer and had a job as a housekeeper at the time and figured I still had a lot of time to throw into it. I painted a white tiger in memory of my older sister and everyone who saw it was amazed somehow. I was afraid they were mocking me! Then I stopped painting. I didn’t take pride in what I had created. Why?
Light at the (nearly) End of the Tunnel
A little light became clear when a friend, at the time, shared my white tiger on a facebook selling page without me knowing. A lovely person contacted me and asked if she could commission me with a sketch of her sister’s dog after seeing the tiger. Huh? I thought, you want me to draw something for you?! I agreed and we agreed on a price and where we could meet up so she could pick up the sketch. Scary, but I felt pride when it was all finished and she loved it. I started to call myself an artist. At long last!
Since that sketch, I did have 2 other sketch commissions but I crashed with my own self-criticism. So art took a back seat and I stopped calling myself an artist while I focused on web design. I eventually became a web developer for the NHS and I have loved it ever since! I still didn’t take pride in who I was though. Every bit of code, every graphic and every problem I solved I criticised it and told myself “I can do better than this rubbish”; seriously, every time.
The Penny Finally Dropped
About a year ago the penny started to drop. I realised that it doesn’t matter what skill level you are at the things you love most, you are still those things. Such as, I am a business owner, a mother, a gamer, an illustrator, a web and graphic designer, photographer and writer. I am these things because I choose to be these things. And I am these things because I am proud of my achievements in those things no matter how small they are.
A little moral of the story is to be proud of who you are despite what anyone else thinks!
Let me know in the comments why you are proud of who you are.
Much love, Charmaine x