Everything they told me was wrong, and it’s taken me thirty years to fully appreciate this fact. Thank goodness I never believed them. However I did listen because you tend to hear the things that people around you are saying even when you don’t agree. Happily I was very stubborn and so I resisted the bad advice that I got from people all these years.
Now then, I wish I could say that their advice had been completely ineffective. If I could say that I guess I’d be superwoman — or superartist. I heard people giving me bad advice and some of that advice did creep into my brain, and it caused me to have doubts. So for thirty years I’m doing paintings that are not really “art” and I’m doubting myself along the way. But I have this big stubborn streak too so I’m doing what I want to do anyway because it’s my life. And thank goodness, I was surrounded by other stubborn people in my family. The worst of them were far more stubborn than me — which certainly could make living with them challenging at times — but there they were teaching me daily lessons in a kind of persistence that has served me well for those times when I want to do what I want.
I did sense that that the bad advice was bad advice. But what if I hadn’t? What if I had believed the forecasters of doom since they said they knew what they were talking about?
The beauty is that I had something in my own heart that tugged me where I wanted to go, so that even when the false narrative was most attractive I had this other happy impulse to follow. It teased me along the way you tease a cat with a piece of string. Even when the sound and the motion was quiet or slight, it was compelling in that beautiful way of desire. And that siren voice kept telling me to be the artist I wanted to be. And I listened because it was fun to listen.
And I’m still doing that. And it’s still fun.