If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting the results to be different than I am insane. Or at least I have been. Look at this! Look at this pile of shitty first drafts! Look how long this painting has been asking to be made! I could feel it and kind of see it and I could register when clues were being given for its arrival, but I couldn’t find it. It has been its own practice.
Raising a kid has shown me how we are born frustrated and impatient to be able to do things. Walking. Talking. Peeling carrots. Riding scooters. Drawing. Painting. Maybe everybody isn't like this, but my kid is. So fast to give up and get frustrated and not participate when she is unable to do things perfectly. You know, now that I think more, not everything. She is diligent about some things, but mostly the things that come easy to her. And, now that I think about it even more, she really did wait until she was ready to ride that scooter and now she’s off like a shot. So maybe we all have both in us.
It is a practice to cultivate patience with ourselves. To be ok when it takes longer than we want. Even way longer. To live life and do other things and go back to it when you feel it asking for attention, even when it’s frustrating and inexplicably weird and you have no idea why you are doing it except a long time ago you had this little inkling of an idea for a painting and you won’t give up on it. And you don't know if anyone else in the world will ever care about it and it doesn't actually matter because it just needs to come. It is a step somewhere you need to go, so you step. Every time you keep mustering up the hope that this is the one! This is the one that will soar! And looking back you realize, wow. You are that same girl who stood on the steps of the pool for way longer than everyone else. Looking. Hesitating. Not going. Knowing you would but not quite yet.
Why didn't I just go big sooner? Just dive in and trust the piece to mush and flow together. That the first draft need not be perfect. That with big pieces they kind of self-correct because you can build and change and wipe off and all those movements become part of the whole but at least it’s moving and flowing and building and, honestly, I tried that, too. I did. I have to trust that even though I saw it and felt it wanting to come and I gave all that time and love and hope to it, it didn't come because it wasn't ready. Or I wasn't ready. I paid my dues. I accepted that it wasn't ready and I kept saying ‘Im here! I'm here’ anyway and not being mad when it didn't work and suddenly, quietly, unspectacularly, it did.