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My colleague

This starts with a little bit of a sad story.

I have been writing little stories since I was 8 years old. Before that I copied stories like Snow White out of a large fairytale book. I illustrated the name Snow White with glitter glue.

Most of the times I draw little pictures in my stories. At the age of 10 my teacher told me I could not draw. In high school my art teacher confirmed that statement in front of the whole class. I did not know what perspective was. And so I did not make any perspectives in my drawings (I was a doodler). My A.T. never taught me the technique of perspective in drawing.

I stopped drawing and painting. I only wrote in my journal. Next to my pubertal reflections I scribbled little stories in which I was the main character. Or I made a little doodle for myself.

I became a teacher. I wanted to be the teacher who showed talent flourish. I wanted to provide space for failures and mistakes, because I knew only then you could grow. I put my pencils, pens and notebooks aside and studied hard. I missed the child in me, so I taught pre-schoolers. In their own way, they helped me find that child in me again. I loved that so much, I wanted to do something with my findings. So I searched for an education where I could learn more about my inner child. I found an art therapy class. That was great… and scary.

To rule out the influence of any other person, who said: ”You are not good enough”, in our thinking, we started painting or drawing to practise art beyond such an inner voice.

These exercises were dark and felt mean. It was the inner critic yelling and screaming to stop this nonsense. My inner critic was ruthless, dishonourable, mean, dark, undermining but also polite. I learned that voice only intended to protect me from more of those 'teachers'. That was a hard lesson.

I found out it didn’t want me to stop enjoying myself, stop making art, stop writing. It was creative of its own: it give a focus to my creative writing and skills in order to no longer feel blocked by criticism. I only had to listen and face that music.

I made friends with it. Well, not quite. It became a colleague of mine. The one I could work with… most of the time. But still… sometimes…(growl)

So now I had a colleague and with that there came a great desire of making art beyond my inner critics. That’s why I do my art challenges. To meet my colleague and after that find that space without him. What remains is only me and (my) art.

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