Sketching something in my sketchbook.

To some, sketching something might not seem daunting in the slightest. But to me, I would more quickly run a marathon. And there’s such a slim chance that I’m ever going to run a marathon!

My inner critic is deafeningly loud when it comes to art. She’s intimidating, and her words cut deep. I didn’t want to give her the opportunity to ridicule my attempts at producing a drawing. I hated the idea of hearing her voice. The acknowledgement that she holds so much power over me is precisely the reasoning I added sketching to my Memory List.

I successfully avoided it last year, and happily procrastinated for more than half of this year without tackling it. But a couple days ago, with Hurricane Elsa bearing targeting the Tampa Bay area, I wanted to do something on my list, and not much else was possible. So I cracked open the brand new sketchpad, grabbed the box of pre-sharpened pencils, and settled on a subject: a peacock feather.

They’ve been molting their feathers, and I’ve managed to grow my collection of the colorful plumage quite nicely. I’ve made a bountiful bouquet of them in my apartment, and they’ve begun to hold a considerable amount of significance to me. Walking around the neighborhood to count peacocks was the first memory I crossed off my list last year. This pride of peafowl continues to witness my journey of self-discovery. They watched when I walked Toby around the block for the first time. They’ve impressed my friends with their habits and calls. They’ve seen me cry… a lot.

A single peacock feather, from my perspective, holds more than just its beauty. It also represents new beginnings, friendship, health, resilience. So, Mom, if you’re reading this, don’t be surprised when I come to visit with a new peacock feather tattoo.

Ok, that’s enough digression. I chose to sketch a peacock feather. In hindsight, I perhaps should have selected a subject that wasn’t so detailed. Using a pencil didn’t do any justice to its vibrant colors. But, hey. My inner critic looooved my choice.

As a kid, I learned that my brother was the artist. I was good at sports and science. I got the the impression that there was a finite amount of artistic ability in the house, and my brother had the monopoly on it. I know now how incredibly wrong I was. But my critic doesn’t care about that fact; she continues to yell it into her megaphone.

I battled that noise with every pencil stroke. “That’s the wrong shape!” “You suck at this!” “Stop smudging the lead. You’re ruining it!”

I stopped trying to silence her. I thought of her like a child throwing a tantrum, and hoped she’d eventually get tired and cease her screaming. She didn’t stop. but neither did I. I’m proud of myself for completing this memory. I could have easily avoided it, and no one but me would have noticed.

My critic’s review of my sketch is a harsh one. But I don’t care. I accomplished this memory, in spite of her.


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