It all started a few weeks ago. I had my kids for the entire week and was desperately trying to find something to occupy them that wasn’t a screen and didn’t lead to bickering. I pulled out a “Draw your favorite Pixar characters!” book that we’d bought on our last trip to Disneyland…and never used. (It’s on my newly created “I’m bored” shelf in the kids’ imagination room. They’ve rapidly learned that those words immediately lead to an activity like shrinky dinks or making emoji bracelets or their own underwater snow globes.)
It was early Saturday morning and Paul was still trying to sleep, so I sat down with the largest mug of coffee I owned and tried to engage Eli in drawing. We decided on Eve from Wally since she’s the easiest. Evie woke up and joined us.
My Eve was OK. Not great.
Eli got discouraged by his and lost interest. Evie didn’t want to draw another one but pointed to Remy and cooed and I decided to try him.
My Remy actually looked pretty good. No one was more shocked than I was. Fast forward a few days, and I was drawing the old dude from Up, Mrs. Incredible, Atta from A Bug’s Life, the mom as a bear from Brave. Each one harder, and each one better than the last.
Here is a sample:
I’ve literally never drawn anything that good IN MY LIFE.
It was like someone else was using my fingers. I am the least visually artistic of anyone in my family! My ex-husband was the professional artist with an MFA and Eli said, “I don’t think dad could do it that well…” And their dad agreed!
I’ve been excitedly shoving Pixar characters in everyone’s faces all week. This seems silly and trivial. But I started to unpack why this was so impactful for me.
I realized (on a Chairman Mom Zoom actually) that part of it was that I was somehow told I couldn’t do art at some point at a young age. Maybe it was the role I was expected to play in my family, maybe it was that I just had more interests that got nurtured instead. I certainly had a lot of passions growing up. I don’t necessarily blame anyone. I remembered later that once my ex found some sketches I’d done in college and was like “You should sketch more! You are really good!” So there were times I had encouragement. But somehow a voice got lodged in my head that “I wasn’t the artist in my family.” And I believed it until I was in my mid-40s!
I’ve recently ordered a monthly sketch box and a monthly watercolor kit. I want to go beyond Pixar characters (and the Disney villains book on the way) and see how much talent is really there that spent nearly 50 years going totally unexplored.
One thing that has motivated me is how excited and supportive my kids and Paul and their dad have been about it all.
I am curious what the world has talked you out of believing about yourself so I’ve started a Chairman Mom thread on that. (I have also discovered during the last few weeks that I’m awesome at teaching kids math. Where did that come from?? I was dyslexic and struggled with math at their age because I’d flip numbers.)
What stories are we telling ourselves about our abilities that are totally untrue?
Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:
- What’s something the world/your family/teachers/white supremacy/the patriarchy told you you couldn’t do or were bad at?
- How to transition out of bedsharing?
- Here’s another organization that can use our support right now