I was a slightly irritated last week because my daughter's substitute teacher told her during free time to put away her drawing. She told my daughter, "Drawing is a waste of time, you should read a book." My daughter was pretty bummed out. I told her people have different opinions and not to let one person sway her from her goals. Actually, I'm making myself sound a lot better than reality. What I actually said was, "That lady's an idiot. Don't listen to what she said."
I've been thinking a lot about this idea of "wasting time." There are many days, MANY, when I feel like I'm just wasting my time. What am I doing this for? Why do I feel the need to continuously start new projects? Why do I think obsessively about my work? What is the point? I should be doing something productive, like....like what? What exactly is productive? Laundry, cooking, reading?!? I guess if I wanted to get really good at folding clothes and making sure my clothes are the cleanest on the block then I should spend every free moment mastering the art of laundry. But, I don't care about clean clothes. I don't care if I get the stain out or not. If my clothes shrink, oh well. If I'm a little funky sometimes, I blame it on the dog.
Maybe I should be doing something more productive like, saving the world. Art is so bougie, right? Painting is for the upper class. Well, I'm sorry, but I'm not good at saving the world. However, when I paint I'm alive. I care. I am released. After even just an hour in the studio, I come out human again. Ready to face the world. And even if I can't save it, I can at least be nicer. More tolerant. Less impatient. If we all had outlets like this, maybe the world COULD be better.
My daughter is pretty clear that art will always be a part of her life. Sometimes she wants to do it professionally. Sometimes she wants to do something else, and then draw or create on the side. I LOVE that she's eleven and HAS an outlet. Most people don't, or if they do, it's destructive. I hope it stays with her for her whole life. I hope that when she feels bored or restless or has free time, she doodles. I hope that when she feels frustrated or stressed, she draws. I hope that when she faces the challenges that life will inevitably bring, that her outlet is to create and not to self-destruct. It's all about learning to cope, right?