I applied for a major exhibition recently.
It was scary to submit my work because I struggle with confidence. But I struggle more with the idea of not trying, so I applied.
Today I got rejected. No reason was given so I don’t know what I need to do differently – or if I should change at all. I just know I was rejected.
For the first hour, I pretended I didn’t care.
For the next few hours I cried a little bit.
Then I gave up. This is hopeless, I told myself. You’re just not good enough. Stop trying.
And that’s when I got over it.
Because I am good enough. I know it. Maybe not for this show, this time. Maybe not even yet. Maybe I have more work to do.
But I painted this.
And I like it very much.
I like that it communicates how I felt that day. I like the use of media. I like the colours. And most of all, I like what it says about animals. I’d buy that painting if it wasn’t mine already.
I totally get that the judges didn’t like it. And that those people are clever and well-educated and far more knowledgeable about contemporary art than I am.
And once upon a time, I would have let that crush me. I would have wallowed in grief and stopped painting and thrown myself a pity party that went on for months.
Today my pity party lasted a few hours.
Tomorrow, I get my paints out again and I keep going. Maybe someone will like what I do, maybe they won’t. I’ll enjoy it much more when they do, but what I realize is this: Even when they don’t, I can’t stop. This is what I do and what I’ll keep doing.
It sounds weird to say after such a tough rejection, but this has been a good day 🙂