Taking InventoryRealizing I have less than 48 hours left in 2022, I started reflecting. I revisited my calligraphy goals set for 2022(and life goals on Celine's Chinese New Year call) as we started the year and my progress until now. While I did not find Mr. Right, I did fully embrace getting comfortable "sitting in the discomfort" as I worked to step outside of my comfort zone to grow.
I remember the first time I submitted my work for a critique in LU... it was before 2022 but I was so nervous! This was also the time that I realized that my growth was going to happen when I was vulnerable and open to criticism. I was still very uncomfortable at the time because until yesterday (which I will get to), I was still stuck in this area where I either felt there was right or wrong or more recently found that there was a grey area where "personal preference" fit into the equation where right and wrong were slightly more fluid. The tools I have and continue to forge in this community are starting to reveal themselves in a more defined form outside of this community.
For me, LU has and will always be a magical incubator of safe space. I am sharing my reflections because I know that at the very least my growth would look very different than it does because of this space. I hope that it might inspire others looking for growth (I was not even sure what I was looking for at the time) to be brave and vulnerable here because it is such a supportive and kind community. It is because of my growth here that I was ready for the steps I have taken during 2022. The lessons I have taken outside of this community do not mean I am done with this community because I still have so much more to learn from both the members and the courses as I continue to revisit previous lessons for the third, fourth times..... and some even beyond that!
The first way I embraced discomfort was sharing my experimentation in the technique section. I openly admit that I have no idea what I am doing and encourage questions because it helps me dig deeper to find out why I made the choices I did. It helped me as much as it did the other members asking. Admitting I had no idea what I was doing was both terrifying and freeing!
The second was taking my lessons and believing in myself outside of the walls of my safe place (LU). I have been unsure what my next steps are in the direction I hope to grow.... really most of 2022 was full of uncertainty and allowing myself to be uncomfortable with not knowing. Many members I have talked to know I appreciate understanding why.... often when I never found those answers. For a long time I have been intrigued with the methodical approach of the yin and yang book.... but I have still not understood how to use it as anything other than a "reference book."
Yesterday I attended a free daily practice session with Paul. I got in my head, felt like I did everything "wrong" (meaning he used drawn guidelines/mine was light pad, he used pointed pen/I used brush pen, he did majuscules:miniscules:numbers/I did the capital A crossed it out and only did minuscules) and I remembered my goal was to DO WHAT MADE ME UNCOMFORTABLE. The fact that I set a goal on the LU call.... I choose to post what I anticipated would be torn apart for being "wrong" but choosing to be accountable to the people who have been there to cheer me on my entire journey. (Thanks Jillian, Jordan, Laura, Adrienne, Brenda, Celine, Klea, and members of the LU community)
To say I was shocked by the positive feedback would be an understatement because I thought I "broke every rule." This moment led to an epiphany that helped me answer a question I have been pondering a long time.... "where do I fit in to the calligraphy community?" and "What is my next step?" It also led me to my focus for 2023....
This seems very simple.... for me it is difficult. I am the person who wants to challenge boundaries but often lacks the bravery to stand up for myself. I will not be disrespectful but if someone tells me "you can't use that to get the result you are looking for" I have always had the tendency to ask why not? Next year I will be true to me, I will not allow others opinion to limit my outcome.... I believe some of the most beautiful things have happened as the result of a brave person willing to dream bigger than what is generally accepted.
This realization also started to help me connect the dots on questions of where I fit and how my interests will serve me the best! My desire to understand the "why" will help me to push the conventional boundaries. My need to overcome any challenge of someone telling me "you can't do that" will serve me well in crushing any boundary that has kept "art" or "calligraphy" in its own "box." This alone will allow my unique perspective to "BE ME!"