There is no ‘I can’t’, only ‘I won’t’

There is no shame in not being able to do something because we haven’t learned how to yet. We all have different strokes, different perspectives, different things we enjoy, and our skills reflect our diversity as human beings. Health conditions exempt (and there are people with health conditions who are exempt from the exemption!), there is really never anything we can’t do. If something is out of our reach, it’s simply because we’re not interested in pursuing it strongly enough.

Take painting. Most people we know of will say “I could never do this!” when viewing a beautiful work of art. I wholeheartedly disagree. There is no ‘natural born talent or gift’, there is only an interest in painting that develops into the desire to do it. And then you do it. Those who create masterpieces went through a grueling process of trying to paint, making mistakes, learning from these mistakes and trying again, over and over until they felt exhausted, until they were drained, and they kept on going no matter how hard it got because they were passionate about it and really wanted to achieve their goals. They went through all the ugly phases that come with learning how to create beautiful paintings. They got disappointed in their efforts, but instead of calling it quits, they tried again. And again. And again. Until one day they were finally able to create something that pleased them. And they never stop trying to get better, always eager to learn new things, always eager to push beyond their comfort zones and explore the world in ways they never thought possible before.

When I hear someone complain about “I wish I could do that but I’m just not lucky enough to be creative”, I get angry. You want the pay-off without putting in effort? That’s never happening. Stop blaming ‘a lack of creativity’, stop wallowing in self-pity, and either get off your ass and put in the effort or stop complaining for attention. There is no such thing as lack of creativity. You’re not born with it, you train yourself. You grow up in school with countless of crafting classes. You have the internet at your disposal, the biggest, most universally accessible knowledgebase in all of human history and you sit there complaining you can’t do something. There are millions of resources online, available and for free, to draw your inspiration from. You want to create original characters? Here you go.

I’m not lucky for the skills I have. I worked my butt off for every single one of them. I didn’t just know how to knit a sweater because I sat there going “I wish I could do that, I guess I just don’t have the talent for it”. I spent nearly 3 years knitting almost every day, spending countless upon countless hours researching how to get the desired fabric, learning how to read patterns, learning how to adjust patterns, putting months into projects only to start all over again because I made a mistake.

This process is the same for every skill out there. You go through a lot of shit, frustrations, research, practice and need a consistent level of passion, motivation and discipline to get good at anything – you’ve got to be willing to put up with all the bad stuff that comes with it. It is not handed to you on a silver platter pain free. I’ve never played a guitar in my life, and I don’t even know if I’m musically inclined for instruments. I could play the guitar if I really applied myself, but you know what? I probably never will. I’m not interested in playing the guitar and going through the grueling process that will lead to the reward of being good at playing the guitar. I’m not motivated, I’m not passionate about it, and therefore I don’t have the discipline to sit through it.

And that’s okay.

What’s not okay is to complain about not being able to play the guitar when I’m not willing to practice 2-4 hours a day, get a teacher, learn how to read music sheets and build up callouses on my initially blistered and bleeding fingertips.

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Trying to ease the burden

Feeling infuriated and exhausted, I hate how people make you suffer for no reason. I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning to get a referral to a therapist and in-house counseling/help, as well as ask for a second opinion on combining medication with therapy because my suicidal thoughts are scaring the shit out of me. I talked to my sister about it and she agrees that if medication can help me out where the rest falls short I should go for it.

While I’m dealing with that after possibly the second most stressful and scary (and drugged) day of the year, I have a friend in a similar boat who’s trying to get help as well. She’s a stunningly good artist but also struggles to function in day to day life. To help fund her medical bills for the help she needs she’s taking donations and commissions.

If you have some money to spare, please help out a brave and beautiful soul by donating/commissioning her if you love her art as much as I do, or sharing this DeviantArt journal on your social media feeds to help spread the word. She deserves it.

“I need your help, if you can…”

Grateful #1

For the past 6 days I’ve been doing a “Daily Breast Challenge” with my art. The reasoning is simple: the majority of women think something’s wrong with their breasts – their size, their shape, their weight, their perkiness etc. – while they are all perfectly normal in every single way. I’ve been fighting with my own bosom’s security for some time. Despite positive responses, I always felt like mine were off and weird. Then I found a site featuring pictures of regular women’s breasts in a non-sexual way, and I was awed and humbled by the experience. As an artist, I’ve been guilty of always drawing the same kind of boobs that lean towards the media standard of ‘perfection’. So I challenged myself to draw one pair of normal boobs every day until I run out of boobs to draw from this site.

These are fairly quick. The images I work off of are very small so sometimes I improvise a little, but I am updating my Dropbox folder every day. Feel free to check in, each image is dated as dd/m/yyyy and displayed from oldest to newest in that order. I’m only 6 days in and already I’ve learned so very much. Subtle differences among women who are alike, but never the same. The way larger breasts differ even when they’re similar in size. The artist in me is rejoicing at all the knowledge I’m gaining and the woman in me is loving herself a little more every day. This is the best art challenge I’ve undertaken in a long time.

In keeping with this spirit, I’m also going to do a ‘grateful challenge’ for the next 7 days. I’ve been feeling down, stressed and tired so much, I’m losing perspective on what’s good in my life. Perhaps listing 3 things I’m grateful for every day for a week will lift my spirits a little.

  1. I’m grateful for having my boyfriend in my life. No matter how far apart we are while he’s deployed, it still feels like we’re close together through his efforts to stay in touch with me. He listens to me and encourages me while being immensely supportive – just what I need to stay strong and have courage.
  2. I’m grateful for the Yogscast. They’re a group of YouTubes with an excellent sense of humor and massive amounts of videos on Minecraft and other games. Their videos run almost non-stop on my computer these days, making me laugh and keeping me company while I knit, draw, bake, browse and talk to people.
  3. I’m grateful for my friend Sam, who has proven to be an invaluable addition in my life. No matter how much my situation appears to suck, Sam will always find an upside to my day. Whether it’s a “At least you didn’t die in a fire” or “Cheer up, go cuddle your cats and play Pokemon with me”. His sense of humor

Perpetually irked

The wonderful and amazing guy in my life I’m lucky to call my boyfriend is an avid fan of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic show. Although I initially didn’t care for the show at all, I bribed him into watching something and in exchange I agreed to watch one episode to give it a chance.

All 3 seasons later I’ve grown fond of the simple charms and humor in the characters’ personalities and I’m actually looking forward to season 4!

Anyway, one of our mutually favored ponies is Cherry Berry, the often disgruntled looking background pony with no major role. She’s depicted doing a lot of manual labor, like raking leaves and pulling a garbage cart, and her perpetually irked face has become a running gag for us. She’s featured in a number of comics and questionnaires being her rebellious self.

Ponies are surprisingly hard to draw. Their proportions are pretty specific and they very easily look very wrong and skewed if you mess that up. It’s been difficult for me to copy the official style, but as you can see in the image featured at the top of this post I’m not doing too badly! I haven’t drawn a lot for people, but because he makes me happy I’ve been doing my best to draw him things that will brighten his day.

A couple of weeks ago, I drew his original character Samantha Brooks:

Samantha Brooks

But what to do for Halloween? I thought of drawing his favorite pony Applejack in a costume, but realized that wouldn’t turn out well (because standards are hard to live up to). Then I thought of how much CherBer probably loathes Halloween with all the candy and dressing up, so then my brain instantly clicked the only reason she’d wear any costume at all: being bribed/having lost a bet.

And who’s more fun to lose a bet to than Fluttershy?

If you like ponies and a good sense of humor, I highly recommend you check out his gallery.