You Can Do Anything…If You Believe You Can

The worst grade I ever got was a C+ in 8th grade art class because apparently my tracing of the Sunday comics wasn’t up to the expectations of my teacher. I was downtrodden, dismayed, chagrined. A C+ – in art, no less? Really? 

Thankfully, my GPA was not affected by 8th grade, but it gnawed at my sense of self for years. I assumed the composure of I am bad at art and lived that reality until my children started taking art class at the BBAC some years ago.

Today, I dropped them off for a two-week art camp at this place we have come to love. It reminded me of that first toddler art class my little ones took long ago, where the teacher said, “Why can’t you paint on a canvas?” I told her my sad little story that I’d dragged along behind me for decades and she smiled. “Anyone can paint.”

Since then, I’ve swiped paintbrush and sun-burst vibrant acrylics over canvases in my basement with my children. Our walls display all of our work (mostly theirs) as if it’s real art…because we believe it is.

The mind is a powerful obstacle, isn’t it? Tell yourself you can’t and you won’t. And you’ll nurse the wounds of not believing for years and years, maybe your whole life, until someone, like that sweet art teacher, sets you free from yourself.

It all comes back to being in the NOW vs. past or future. Do I really want to be the frizzy-haired 8th-grader that I was in 1985? Seriously? And who knows what I will be tomorrow?

In fact, the more you ponder the whys of life, the more you realize this art of escaping the present to worry about and ruminate over might and was, well, it’s ridiculous.

My lovely grandmother is there right now. At 90, she has lived long and well and unfortunately, she’s hit the moment in time when her body won’t keep up with her intellect. Bound to a wheelchair when a year ago she was driving around metro Detroit, laughing and playing and bringing candy bags with the preferred lollipop flavors for each of her 18 great-grandchildren, well, it can’t be easy.

Her body can do more than she is letting it. The mind is an important tool…or obstacle.

And so all I can do is be with her in this moment and hold her soft hand, noticing the satin of her skin like I’ve always known it and her quietly manicured fingernails. She’s still every bit a lady. 

We are how we see ourselves. It’s that damn law of attraction – put it out there and it will become true.

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