Seeing Myself

Eye Drawing By BG

Self confidence has never been my strong suit. I know that I am probably a lot harder on myself than most other people will be, especially friends and family. That plays into doubting what they say and fueling that doubt. This is one of those things that I do know and recognize about myself and I’ve tried to watch for it in my kids and encourage them to push past it in themselves. It is something I had thought they were doing pretty well with. Until BG was getting ready to start her art class in second semester.

The last few weeks before the semester, all I heard was how bad she was going to do and how bad she was at art. This really kind of threw me because she is REALLY good. She even had her middle school art teacher sing her praises in vouching for her to skip the intro class to get into a higher level class to make her schedule work this year. I didn’t understand where the doubt was coming from. It really didn’t feel like normal BG attitude. No, she isn’t always uber confident, but… in certain areas it isn’t an issue and art used to be one of those things.

Her first assignment for the class was just a kind of “I want to see where you are” kind of thing. They had a packet where they had to draw a few different things, but it wasn’t a big deal. She was convinced she did horrible and that everything she drew was crap.

Now, as something of an artist myself, I have ALWAYS tried to teach my kids a variety of things when it comes to drawing and art and color, so they have always had some of those basics. All of my kids have some pretty damn good creative and artistic skills, but both BG and MC lean more towards the math and sciences, with BG trying really hard to straddle the line between the creative and the analytical. I have also been really honest with them on what they do. I’m not one to fluff what I say when it comes to art. I try like hell to balance that honesty in a way to not seem like I’m being overly critical either. Mostly, I don’t want to give them a false sense of their abilities, either direction.

That is part of why I couldn’t understand why she was being so hard on herself and not really listening to me when I told her what she was doing was still awesome. I even told her straight up that what she put in her packet wasn’t her best work, but it was still really good. She was so damn hard on herself and was convinced it sucked. So much so, she was floored when her teacher was impressed.

They have now done several projects and I still hear how terrible she is doing, how awful her project is… until they are done and she is seeing hers side by side with the other students. I don’t know what she is expecting or comparing herself to, unless they are higher level students or even professionals, but she is always shocked as hell when her projects are always so well done.

In this, I think she is way too much like me. It will not matter what I have to say, even if she is constantly asking my opinion and advice, she will only learn this by doing and experiencing the results. I can tell her over and over again, until I’m blue in the face, that she is well above average for her age when it comes to art skills, especially in certain areas. She has a talent for drawing faces (or at least certain parts) so fricking well it blows my mind. The drawing posted here is hers, so you can see I’m not just being the proud parent. She doesn’t listen when I tell her that. It is kind of scary how much like me she is when it comes to this. Scary because I really believe it is one of the things that tends to hold me back and I don’t want that for her.

I can only hope that she can really learn from this class that what she has heard in the past aren’t just polite compliments, but genuine praise for her hard work and talent. Because, and here I WILL be proud parent, my girl has got some serious artistic talent.

Author: TJ Fox

I am a slightly sane artist, amateur photographer, book addict, wife, mom and raging introvert. I have more hobbies than I can count, so it is beyond shocking that I manage to find time to do any of them, let alone most of them and still have time to do anything else. Of all the talents I claim, writing wasn’t one of them until my muse dropped the idea for a book on my head.

4 thoughts on “Seeing Myself”

  1. I feel like we are most critical of the things we are best at, and the things we hold most dear as part of us. Her critical eye on her own art just proves how important it is to her. She will find her footing as her talents grow even more! Her picture is beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This one was just kind of a shock and I’m still trying to understand why something she had felt pretty good about in the past is now something she doesn’t feel confident in. I was used to hearing how she was going to fail this or that test only to ace every single one. So much so, I just rolled my eyes at her when she said it. This was new though.

      I do agree that we are harder on ourselves when it comes to things that are our strong points. It is one of my biggest issues and what keeps me from doing much of anything outside of “just for fun”.

      Sadly, the other part of BG that is so much like me is that she likes so many things it is impossible for her to narrow down what she wants to do. It is going to be loads of fun when she is approaching her senior year and trying to decide what she wants to do for college. I am stupidly grateful that MC knows exactly what he wants to do and that is a non-issue for him. He just has to decide between his two school choices.


      1. Gah! Kids are so different that we are always on our toes! Like…well this worked for Child A, what the hell do I do with Child B because *that* ain’t gonna work!

        You know, as do I, the curse of the jack of all trades. We never feel settled enough in one thing to feel like we have ‘mastered’ it. There’s obvious blessings in it too as being more well rounded. But the curse is wanting And never quite getting there in our minds. Maybe she’s still experiencing that with her art. I think she’s just having visions of mastering her art though, so that’s a good thing, even if she is being critical of herself!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Jack of all trades! YES! So much yes! This is me. Completely. It seems BG will be much the same. At least for her, she will have a solid academic background that I was never overly interested in, which will make things easier for her even if she decides to go an artistic route.

        Liked by 1 person

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