Last month I took a leap. The new South Health Campus here in Calgary put out a call for local artists to submit their work for consideration to be displayed in the family centre of the Critical Care Unit. When the email first came in I brushed it off with a laugh and a "ya right, as if..." Who was I to think they'd consider my work for such an important space?
But as I attempted to let it rest, I kept coming back to a single line in the application form:
"Can we keep your information on file for future projects?"
Somewhere in that single question, I found my motivation. Who am I to think I have any place among the amazing artists of this city? If I think only of today, truly I am Nobody. But what if I consider beyond today and instead I look farther down the road and really consider where I want to go? Maybe not next year, but sometime in the future - what do I want it to look like? Is painting going to play a role in my journey? I honestly hope so, so what do I have to lose?
Two weeks of painting the largest piece I'd ever attempted and composing my first ever artist biography and statement, this is what I submitted. I titled it "Like Nobody's Listening."
I wasn't all too shocked when notice came that my piece was not selected. What did surprise me was that while I had been hoping for better news, I was able to smile. My focus was held by the fact that I had taken not just a step but what felt more like a leap out onto a limb I had never even considered venturing out onto before. I allowed myself to dream more than a little. It was exciting and nerve-racking but most importantly, it forced me to really take myself seriously for a change.
As I contemplated my feeling of success where normally I would be overcome with disappointment, I remembered the words of a good friend of mine. As she pursued her dream of being a published author, she came across a statement that suggested she should expect upwards of eighty rejections before you receive that "yes."
It got me thinking about the strength and drive required to persevere in the face of rejection: how do you test the strength of something? You push on it HARD. You beat it. You lean all you have into it to see if it gives. If it stands, it's strong.
I received my push-back - I received my first of (presumably) many "no's" and now I get to see just how strong is this desire to keep going...I'm smiling because I'm still standing, excited for my next opportunity to arise.
*note: this piece is for sale. Please find more information on my For Sale page.