Why, hello, again. Remember that one time last week when I told you all I was going to step out of my comfort zone and try something new? Well, guess what -- you’re going to be so proud of me -- I tried TWO new things. That’s right. Two.*
* Technically, you could say that I tried 3 new things this week, but the third one was forced upon me, and it’s not something I wanted to try. I know, now you need to know what it was. Well, to satisfy your curiosity, my husband and I have been having a lot of car trouble the last few days, one thing after another, so we have now forcibly experienced the lovely frustrations of getting our two cars repaired at the same time. Oh, what joy. But, in all reality, we have been truly blessed that things aren’t worse than they are.
Anyways, back to business.
New Thing Numero Uno: publicly displaying my art
As I mentioned last week, one of my passions and hobbies is art. Even though I’ve studied it and try to do it every day, I have this major hesitation when it comes to showing my art to other people. I don’t know why, really. Probably because I don’t want it to feel like I’m boasting or anything like that, and, in all reality, my art is pretty average; there are plenty of people who are waaay better than me. I really just make art because I enjoy doing it, not because I want others to see it.
Well, a friend in my ward is getting ready to have her first baby --yay!-- and for her baby shower, I painted her a watercolor of this cute baby elephant and rabbit, like this:
She squealed with delight when she opened her gift and was so excited to hang it in her son’s nursery. And, she was amazed that I had painted the picture myself. To me, it was a pretty simple project; to her, it was amazing.
This last Friday, our church had a talent show, and as part of it, people could bring things to display as their talent (woodwork, published children’s books, sewing, and hand-made woodland fairy homes, to name a few). This friend I had painted the elephant for was in charge of getting people to sign up for the talent show. While talking with her one day, I asked how it was going and asked about the displaying aspect of it. Immediately, she lights up and asks, “Do you want to display something? Can I put you down for art?”
She was so excited and desperately needed more people to sign up, so I sheepishly agreed. When Friday rolled around, I took a few pieces to the talent show and set up. Here’s what I had:
Guys, most of these are super old, like high-school-projects old. A few of them are just sketches, too, things that I did for fun or for practice. But the cool thing is: no one else knew that (except my husband) :) I can’t tell you how many people came up to me throughout that night saying, “I had no idea you were an artist!” Well, I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as an artist, but to them, that’s what I was. One lady even asked if I had considered selling my art, particularly my Starry Night replica.
Guys, I cannot tell you how good it felt to hear all these comments from others. Granted, I was a little embarrassed every time someone asked me about my art or gave me compliments (that’s something I need to work on: graciously accepting compliments), but it still felt good. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not posting all this so I can get more compliments, not by a long shot. Rather, I’m posting this so you can see a simple example of how stepping outside of your comfort zone can be a good thing.
Sharing my art with others was a slightly scary and slightly more uncomfortable thing. It’s intimidating to put your work out there for others to critique, but I’ll tell you what: showing my art has helped me. It’s let me see that people really do like what I do, and if they enjoy looking at good art as much as I do, maybe I can help bring them a little of that joy through my own work. It also encouraged me to keep doing what I love, to keep my skills sharp and to develop them further.
New Thing Numero Dos: editing a book
Most of you probably don’t know this, but I studied editing in college. Yup, I’m that nerd who loves to read and who loves grammar (although I do my best not to correct people). Over the years, I’ve done a lot of editing, mostly for papers, journals, and magazine articles, but this month, I was given the offer to edit a book. I’m not going to give specifics for privacy reasons, but this opportunity is pretty great!
However, it is a little out of my comfort zone. I have never worked on a project this big, and this is my first real freelance job where I’m my own boss. It’s also intimidating because obviously I want to do a good job and have my client be pleased with my edits, but if something goes wrong, it all falls on me. That’s fine and all- it’s a part of taking responsibility and being an adult (yikes!), but it doesn’t remove the intimidation.
In short, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new. I’m trying by best, and hopefully that’s good enough. I know that trying something new and unfamiliar is scary, but it’s always worth it. And even if things don’t work out as you hoped, there is always something to learn from your experience, especially about yourself. Take a risk and live a little! Step out of the ordinary and discover yourself. You won’t regret it.
Thanks for listening 💙-Bridget