Doodle time?


How long has it been since I “promised” to perform daily doodles and new postcards? 3 years? Well, I think we can safely say that it’s probably not my thing to commit to daily fixed tasks at all, because I haven’t done much of either.

In fact THIS post was first drafted a year ago in an attempt to resurrect the topic…

I’m trying, again, to force myself over that hurdle called drawing. Yes, I can splash paint any day without many inhibitions, but lines are something that needs practice, and therein lies the trouble. I never discovered that concept, or thought it applied to me at least, until well into my forties. I was led to believe I was either talented at things or not, and doing something badly felt like a humiliating exposure of my worthlessness, so I never did repeat failures. Even “better”, never tried a thing at all if I suspected I wouldn’t excel at once.

But no matter how slowly, I’m determined to break down that wall. I’ll keep showing up here with my crummy half-a**ed attempts at whatever and anything that strikes my fancy, the mistakes, the uglies, along with hopefully a few successes. To no longer be embarrassed by my imperfection, or to dare be embarrassed should I say, because I still am, every, single, time. And then I make my finger click “Publish”.

Spinning and weaving has made it easier for me to be a willing beginner, but for some reason drawing still has a huge resistance. I try to get around it by calling it doodling as a means of excusing the poor quality, but who am I kidding? I do want it to look nice. There, I said it.

squiggle1For long times of my life I’ve done nothing at all, making various excuses. Because then I did not have to live up to my reputation of being the smart girl, I could pretend to be postponing the expected results, not admitting that I couldn’t do it. Cleverness is not a free ticket to success, it can in fact just be a heavy weight. It feels like everybody is just watching you, waiting to see what you can do. All the advertisements have gone out, promising lions and tigers and then it’s just a flea circus!

And that’s all just a pathetic sob story, have a cookie and wipe your nose, but I needed to realize how that played out before I could begin rewriting my script. That I’m allowed to do things I enjoy without ever being very good at them. (“Good” for most people means “can you sell it?”)

I’m all in favour of cultivating the things you’re good at, rather than struggling with the weaker sides, it makes more sense if you’re good at writing and bad at math, to try and become a brilliant author rather than middling at both because you focus on getting slightly better with numbers.

But here’s the catch: sometimes you have a natural aptitude for something, in my case languages for instance, but you don’t really feel any passion for it. I could never think of any single “regular” job involving language skills which I could bear to do for more than 5 minutes, so I never chose that path. I just enjoy being able to communicate with people from other villages. Financially a very poor choice, but so be it. I think I’ve talked about this before, it’s a theme which comes up regularly because it’s always present when pondering a job situation. “Should I have…?” (of course I could do a boring job, and have, to pay my bills. I just didn’t want to go into the lifelong debts involved when attending university, for something less than passion)

Do you prefer to focus on your strengths or your passions? Are you one of those lucky bastards for whom the two coincide? Or have you been able to do both?

More on actual doodles in my next post… Sending this out today is a deliberate challenge for myself on many levels – if I don’t draw some little thing before Friday, that post is going public with just placemarkers instead of pictures. How will my sensitive stress meter perform, my level of shame at showing all sorts of weird crap?


9 thoughts on “Doodle time?

  1. Your post has helped me understand that others have the same resistance to doing things that I’ve had. I make excuses, then when the excuse is no longer there, I still don’t do what I had wanted to do, realizing I was actually using someone or some situation as an excuse for not wanting or having the passion to do it.

    Yes, I good at many things, but have I written the book or books to prove it? Have I started working in my field, Education, even though I am so good at it? No, so maybe the passion or maybe the lack of commitment/support/ intercommunication with my peers can be blamed, but ultimately, it is me to blame.

    Yes, I too need to get off my lazy duppa, and fulfill my desires and dreams; and even if I fail, at least I know I tried and can stop blaming other or circumstances for not doing it.

    PS, is this what being a grown-up is?

    1. When you mention the term grown-up, I think you are right, but perhaps differently than what we normally mean. It’s all about growing, through challenges among other things as Sarah mentioned below. Being an adult should not have to be about lack of fun, life energy, all boredom and chores. But we are led to believe that it is, and some of us keep fighting it.

      There’s a saying which goes something like this, if you want it badly enough you will find a way. If you don’t, you will find an excuse. Sometimes we’re in love with the idea of doing something, but not so much that we put in the work. For instance, I really wish I could play classical piano, but really… what I actually enjoy is the sound of it, for which purpose cd’s have been invented, how clever is that!

      I’ve felt like you described most of my life “if only I knew my true calling, then I would…..” But it rarely pops up out of nowhere while we sit on our bums waiting. Do what’s at hand right now and see where it leads. Only you can do it, and if circumstances stop you, do something else. Perhaps it’s not the one particular thing that matters, but the action, to keep moving.

      If you do have a specific dream, figure out various babysteps around it to get closer, sometimes the path isn’t straight.

  2. I love your doodles. I don’t believe people should do something just because they are good at it. I know some very very clever people who are good at just about everything they look at, but their passions often lead them in the direction of real challenges, and that is what grows their spirit and minds. And then there are people like me, who don’t know what they are good at (if anything) but just have a calling to do one thing, regardless of ability, and who feel bereft when they can not do it.

    I would also ask, in response to Nassajah, why do we have to have some proof of our passion? If we love to write, why do we have to publish a book to legitimise our love? Writing for ourselves, or our family, isn’t that enough? Isn’t it just the way our soul dances in the world? Maybe monetising our passion would betray it.

    1. Yes, I believe you are right, it may not be about doing one specific thing, but about the WHY of doing it. The challenge. Isn’t it funny that I used to not bother working on something to become better, while these days I feel the opposite. Something that is too easy bores me, I actually thrive on all my fumblings and mistakes and trials and THEN figuring something out is so totally rewarding. To look back and see a development that I scarcely believed in when I started. I’m in fact quite smug that I was able to reprogram myself this way. 😉

      You have a calling – something I always craved, because I have absolutely no idea why I’m here, and after watching a documentary about starving children in Yemen the other night I felt that my life is utterly pointless. And all the many things that I’m good at are of no use whatsoever. So you see, skills are not a blessing in themselves, as intelligence isn’t either. Intelligence has made me a misfit, unable to blend in with the crowd, because I just don’t get their point of view half the time. And it makes others distrustful of me because I’m out of their comfort zone, I don’t react to things the way I’m supposed to. I can get along with most, but I don’t get close.

      So what can we both do (and I don’t agree you haven’t got any talent at your specific calling/s) is do what we do, for our own sakes and pleasure, for the thing itself, follow the red thread through life regardless of purpose, be it money or something else. Maybe we’re not meant to save the starving children, in person, you and I specifically. And maybe, just maybe, that’s ok. To lay down that burden.

      But I also understand the notion of “if only I could make a living at this thing which I love to do”. Not to have proof of importance, for the recognition, or the money in itself, but simply because it would allow me to keep doing it. If I don’t have a roof over my head, no tools, then I also can’t keep doing it. If I slave away at somebody elses dream, I’ll have a roof, but I’ll come home exhausted and devoid of creativity. There is a risk in making your love your work, but it’s a risk I’d be willing to deal with, when faced with the alternative. So it’s a conundrum.

  3. I don’t think we have to monetize our passions in order for them to be realized. Our passions are something that are deeply felt, which means we have an emotional attachment to them and not necessarily a monetary one. But, when we have a passion, it is usually demonstrated in an action or by producing something, in other words a physical representation of our passion. Even people who are passionate for a cause, demonstrate their passion by doing something, whether it is demonstrating, writing to spread their ideas or knowledge of the cause or even refusing to purchase items that are against what they are passionate about, such as not purchasing unhealthy foods to demonstrate their passion about health.

    Our passions can also become a part of our identity, such as in being a weaver or a spinner. They identify us and we become known by them as well. I don’t think we need many passions, and onecan be more than enough.

    1. We are trained to place higher value on external rewards, results. It’s not good enough to do something for the way it makes us feel, because nobody can relate to what they can’t see, it’s not “for the group”. So if we boldly disregard this demand for achievement, prestige, a product, then society tries to whip us back into line. Shaming is a huge tool deliberately used in this training. “You are being selfish”. And ultimately it works so well that nobody has to tell us these things, we perpetuate the pattern by doing it to ourselves…

  4. I think you’re pretty courageous to be sharing all these musings with us. In many things you write, you could be describing me, too–the not fitting in and having a hard getting close. I’m at a different stage of my life than you are–I actually spent the years doing a job I was quite good at but felt no particular passion for and now am retired. I will say that, now, I’m glad I took the route I did because it allowed me to retire early and now I can devote my time to what I really enjoy, without having to worry about making money from it. I hope you’re finding some sense of direction by articulating your thoughts in your blog.

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