I recently read an excellent blog post by writer Dana Kumerow. Kumerow posits this thought: a writer is someone who writes (read this most excellent blog post here: writingtowardhome ). It was an "aha" moment for me. Geez! I am a writer! As things do with me, this idea sent me down a rabbit hole of epiphanies. A painter, following this logic, is someone who paints.
Just as Kumerow describes writers who shy away from being called such, I have seen painters terrified of the the same. In the beginning, I was one of those painters. And even sometimes now, when in the presence of magnificent artists with decades of experience and goo-gobs of notoriety, I hesitate to call myself a painter.
My dad gave me wise advice on this concept over thirty years ago. I had just taken up running, and was entering 5k and 10k races, and was overwhelmed by the speed of fierce competitors who ran the national race circuit. Let's face it, I was never going to be fast. It just isn't part of my physical make-up. So I had taken to calling myself a "jogger." But my dad would have none of that. He told me to always, always think of myself as a runner. Because, after all, I was running. And something about having permission to be a runner improved my times, added joy to my runs and kept me running for the next two decades. I've since had to give up running, but I still delight in catching myself saying "when I was a runner..."
Kumerow's post reminded me of my dad's wise advice, of the importance of claiming who we are and the positive impact it often has on our self-esteem, the results of our efforts and ultimately on the heights we may be willing to strive toward. If we don't self-censor the words we use to describe who we are, there is really no limit to what we can attempt. And, until we try, we really won't know what we are capable of.
So grab your brushes, all you painters! Claim your right to go out and paint the world as you see it.