When I was in high school, I took an art class. I remember coming in the early morning at 8 am. One my way to class, I could also hear the school’s band tuning their instruments. I can’t forget the smell of the morning and the sound of the band. I didn’t know how to draw. As the semester went by, I began to draw more and more, obviously, and I even amazed myself at times—impressed with how far I’ve come. By the end of the term, I decided that I wanted to be an artist. I felt a bit insecure though because there were other students with so much more talented.
Most call them “naturally gifted.” Of course, I was not naturally gifted. I had to draw a lot and tons a lot of mistakes. I decided to buy my teacher a small present for the last class. But I ended up not giving her the present. I wanted to talk to her, but she was busy with one of her favorites students convincing him to apply to art college because well, he had talent. I waited around a bit. She was always polite to me throughout and very helpful. Nonetheless, on that last day of class, she didn’t even glance at me or at least I don’t think she did. Most likely she had a moral duty to convince the talented man not to waste his time. So, I walked away with the present.
Sometimes the silence of a person speaks louder, or when someone ignores you too—much like my high school professor. She probably didn’t mean any harm of course. But that’s how most people are, they want to focus on those they believe have natural talent and people who impressed them according to their perception—it’s easier right? It makes sense. No harm there. However, the harm does occur when we ignore others who do not meet our expectations of talent or intelligence. Most of the time people, well sometimes, they don’t say, “look, you suck.” It’s not direct. It’s a subconscious act because the person does not do it on purpose—hopefully. But the student, who is not as talented, walks away ignored and gives up. Because that’s what I did when I was in high school, I gave up on that dream.
Actions do speak louder than words. Now, many years later, I am an aspiring writer working on writing projects, and I am working on my Master’s in English. I have had a busy year with some promising positive doors openings, and I’ve encountered failure. It has mostly been good until about a month ago. You know, life simply happens, and we have to work around it. One of the main concepts I learned during my Summer class Literary Pedagogy was GRIT—it was part of a research project. I wrote a blog about it too. Grit in its basic definition according to Angela Lee Duckworth defines perseverance. Talent alone does not guarantee success. Talent and IQ are both wonderful, as Duckworth puts it. We all want to obtain more talent and more IQ. But that’s still not the answer to success. In her research of many years, she realized GRIT helps with success.
I’ve been ignored, much like what happened to me in high school, and I have also been told I am not good enough numerous times throughout my life. But I’m in my thirties now, and those things do not affect me anymore. I simply digest them in my mind and move forward with my life. I try to take in constructive criticism because feedback is amazing, especially from those with experience. Negative criticism, I use it as fuel to keep driving toward my goals. It’s also a great idea, sometimes, to shut out voices. I’ve had SO much information from professionals, writers, peers, things I read on my own so on and so forth that I feel my writing looks like Frankenstein’s monster. I look at it, and it’s like, “Ew what the heck is this.” Because I need to find my own voice. I need to embrace my culture. I need to embrace my worldview, and part of that worldview is that I am a weird person.
It’s also a great idea, sometimes, to shut out voices. I’ve had SO much information from professionals, writers, peers, things I read on my own so on and so forth that I feel my writing looks like Frankenstein’s monster. I look at it, and it’s like, “Ew what the heck is this.” Because I need to find my own voice. I need to embrace my culture. I need to embrace my worldview, and part of that worldview is that I am a weird person posing as a normal one.
I don’t like writing normal things. I like writing weird things because I live on this earth full of earthly and daily mundane things that I think…why would I want to write about that? Not that there’s anything wrong with that because some people write about our normal life so masterfully. But that’s not me. And I don’t have that talent. I write weird stuff.
Have you been told you’re not talented enough? Or ignored? Embrace GRIT and Move along!
Also, I took an art class in college once more. I did it for fun and for electives. Still, because of my high school experience, I felt nervous. I had to tell myself, “it’s okay. It’s for fun. It’s just for electives.” Makes me laugh to think about it today, honestly—worried about a fun class. Anyway, here is a picture of one my art projects. I am not an artist. So this is a beginner’s art project. Also, I pasted the link to Duckworth’s Grit presentation. Cheers!
©Ana P. Rose & Anaprose 2017.