I once took an amateur art class as a course elective in high school. While I am definitely no Picasso or Dali, I remember a piece of encouraging advice from my teacher.
She told us in her champagne bubbly voice, “There is no mistake in art.” With these simple words, I felt reassured that if I mess up, it’s okay. I can still add colors, paint over, or change the curvature of the lines to make something out of my piece of canvas or paper. After all, who would really know what my intentions were for the piece besides myself?
Fast forward a few years later, and as always, I find value in simple words of advice. We are the ones who ultimately add meaning to what we hear and see after all.
As I continue to experience and grow, I realize that there is a deeper concept to be understood. And if we give ourselves the same sense of reassurance, we are more free to take risks without fearing so much the outcome. But, yes, this is easier said than done — know.
For me, I have often explored this in my writing. I can’t write anything without music, whether it’s a paper or a blog post or a personal piece. Not only is it because music is inspiring, but in my opinion, music helps encourage us to feel. It allows our mind the space to wander and without us always being aware, it gives us the space to feel emotions that are otherwise sheltered. And because of this, I feel more comfortable writing down my voice, rather than stressing over how each word might sound.
I carry and express my joy, my pain, or any variety of thoughts through my writing. And the best source of inspiration is often music that takes me through a wave of feelings at once, not only surface level spurts of joy or sadness. This is my personal form of art.
But as I stood on my path, frozen at the intersection of college student and ” real adult,” I came to the realization that our greatest work of art is and will always be our lives.
Now comparing our lives to art is no unique metaphor, but if you think about it, there is a great sense of power in this simple thought. To me, there are no mistakes. Every layer of experience that colors our lives adds texture and depth to who we are and who we were evolving to be.
We don’t throw away our canvas. We don’t just white out or delete the aspects that were beyond our intended vision. But, what we do is choose.
We choose to be either the canvas or the painter. We choose to hold onto the images in our mind that are familiar, or we can look at what we have so far and choose to create something worth admiring.
These are not limitations. Instead, they are part of the process that ultimately leads us to better understanding ourselves, our friendships, our relationships, and all things that move us along.
I have been inspired by many people, moments, places, and concepts in my life. While I’ll be the first to say that I’m still growing and learning, I hope that in my life, I too, can return this feeling. The feeling that our greatest art will be how we embrace our lives moment-by-moment.
This world, with its good and bad, moves me. I hope that by daring to create an authentic life, I can move it in return.