Recently, I had the joyful, and humbling, experience of making art in the studio of a talented friend and client. She had invited my friend and I to join her for a day of painting where she would offer us some instruction, but ultimately we’d be allowed to just PLAY.
It was an inspiration being in her studio, surrounded by her beautiful paintings. I rubbed my hands together, excited to exercise my creativity in a new way.
But after an enthusiastic start, it became clear that I was totally out of my element. I had painted and collaged myself into a corner. All I could do was stare at my canvas, completely stuck.
Thankfully, I got an art rescue from the master, she took what I had done and used her mighy skills to demonstrate what was possible. It was a joy to behold.
While it was a wonderful day with good friends, I won’t deny that I left feeling like a total failure. Not only for my lack of talent, but because I was so in my own way about it all. Instead of playfully creating art, I had created a struggle. The experience, however, offered me an unexpected gift.
At the studio while I was staring at my incomplete canvas, frustrated and disappointed, I began to focus on an illustration of a dragon I had used in an attempt to “collage.”
When I got home, that dragon and my internal battled compelled me to do something I hadn’t done in years: write a poem.
So I’m sharing my poem with you as a reminder that some failures can be gifts, meaning they are not failures at all. Also, because of the theme that emerged in the poem, I thought it a good fit for International Women’s Day.
She fought and fought to slay the dragon,
succumbing each time to its fiery judgment.
She returned over and over to the same battle,
with new tactics barely distinguishable from the last.
Incremental, often negligible upticks in boldness.
She’d fail and then retreat.
Many, many times over.
Singed and ashamed.
Then one day she drew blood, her sword connected.
She fell to the ground, her very self in searing pain.
She gasped as she met eyes with the beast before her
and saw that the dragon was OF her.
HER power and ability.
HER fire, HER roar.
She chose in that moment not to slay the dragon.
She climbed atop it instead and took flight.
Whole now in her majesty she put down her sword,
ceased her battle,
and set off to save the World.
May you all recognize your fire, embrace your roar and take flight!