Lately, I have been learning that you shouldn’t be afraid to try something new. For the longest time, I had avoided venturing towards new hobbies and interests because I would compare myself to others, without bothering to consider the dedication element, and feel that I wasn’t good enough nor would I ever become good at the thing, so why waste my effort? Isn’t that just a giant pile of bullshit?
It’s such a negative and pessimistic way of looking at life; an outlook that has been brewed in a pot of fear, insecurities, and a bit of arrogance. If we, as humans, truly stopped ourselves from trying new things out of this ridiculous notion of “never being good enough” or “failing” then there is so much in this world that would never have came to be. One of those is art.
Art is something that I have always wanted to try out, ever since I was a little kid. But I had an art teacher who was extremely peculiar about lines and shapes and not making mistakes at all. Art isn’t about perfection, at least not in the traditional sense. Art is subjective to the individual creating it/viewing it. What is a masterpiece to one observer can be a piece of shit to another person. Are either of them wrong? Nope. Yet, because of this teacher, as well as some pretentious asshole mates I had in grade school, for the longest time I believed that if I couldn’t do it beautifully on my first try then it wasn’t meant to be. Being Asian didn’t help in that regard either.
Culturally, my parents, mostly my mum, expected perfection from me in everything that I did. Getting straight A’s was a mandatory part of my childhood. Having an uncommonly high IQ meant that I didn’t any excuses for performing less than what was expected of me. This spilled over onto everything that I did, whether it was under the tutelage of my parental expectations or not. Take that and couple it with what I was told about being an artist, I shelved my interest in art and that’s where it would lay in the dust for the next decade and a half. (This isn’t true for all Asians, as everyone is different with different families. I’m only speaking from personal experience with my family and my Asian friends’ families; we were such great friends because we could relate so hardcore to this stuff.)
Then something extraordinary happened. I began an affair with apathy. I will say that while apathy has been a colossal motherfucking pain in my arse, there are a couple of benefits to it: it forced me to resort to things outside of my comfort zone in order to fight it and it taught me that expectations placed upon us by other people can get bent because they are nothing but harmful and toxic.
Since my typical hobbies weren’t enough to bring me out of apathy, I sat down and made a list of everything I wanted to try but felt too inadequate to even try. Art was on the top of that list. I went out, bought a sketchpad, some art pencils, and then sat down and began to teach myself how to sketch.
I wanted to share my newbie sketches with you all today. To some people, these may be very good and to others it will be beginner as fuck. To me, it’s a start. It’s a middle-finger to being afraid and, while I feel my work is quite amateurish, I also feel it’s profound in a personal way and a work in progress towards something great, just like all pursuits in life should be. Just remember, it’s all relative to you! No one else matters.
Thanks for checking out the start of my artistic ventures. If you’d like to see my progress as I dabble more and more with this newfound interest, please let me know in the comments. Additionally, if you find yourself struggling to find motivation for something that you’ve always been sweet on trying out, let this post inspire you and put your fears to rest. Much love to you, fam. ✌🏾