Ask anyone who has ever tried setting up a small business and I bet they will tell you they feel like giving up on a regular basis (I know I do!). The same can be said for anyone trying to lose weight, studying towards a new qualification, training to run a marathon or even battling illness. Sometimes we get disheartened, and often we get tired. And we have to take all our strength and remind ourselves to just keep going.
And this is what my latest painting is about – reminding ourselves to just keep on swimming.
I remember seeing this cartoon several years ago and I now have it up in my studio and I make sure I look at it every time I feel doubt in what I am doing – or even if I just feel knackered and want to throw in the towel. Whatever our current challenge is, often the only difference between success and failure is not giving up.
So, whatever you are facing and whatever challenge you have to overcome, remember to just keep on swimming - and I promise I will do the same!
Because I was working on the big scenery project for most of January, it has taken until today for me to complete my first painting of 2018 – and it's only a small one, but what it represents is massive.
2018 is the year that will see me silence all my niggles as I push my work, and my brand, in the direction of sharing my own journey of overcoming self doubt and a lifelong overthinking habit and hopefully inspiring and motivating others to do the same (I wrote more about this here). This is a scary shift for me – and this painting symbolises this moment!
The painting was inspired by a social media post I have seen shared on many occasions – and one which I think holds a very effective and powerful message. The original post is below – and I apologise for not crediting its original author as I have no idea where it originated from.
Now, as I said, I love the lesson in this in terms of showing the lasting effect that bullying can have (and I also include many other things in this that life can throw at us along the way!) but I felt unhappy about the suggestion of the permanence of the creases – that if we suffer something that affects us emotionally we are bound by those effects for the rest of our lives; as if our victim status is inescapable.
And this is where the painting comes in – and why it's called 'Beyond The Crumpled Paper'. I would hazard a guess that not many, if any, people make it into adulthood without some 'creases' in their paper and I think these define us in an incredibly powerful way. It is these creases which make us unique – the same as everyone else on a basic level (we all start off as a plain, flat, unblemished piece of paper) but we develop our own, beautiful, complicated and intricate pattern that makes us oh, so very different, to anyone else who has ever set foot on this planet. And that is amazing.
This pattern of crumples tells a story of life – of difficult times overcome and challenges survived. Instead of them being a reminder of how we felt at these times, we should let them serve as a reminder that we came through those times and can now be brave and build exciting times ahead. And that is where I am now – working hard to accept all my crumples and creases (not just the ones on my face!) and move on stronger, not despite them but because of them. Life is about living beyond the crumpled paper, not trapped within it.