Sunday, October 21, 2007

My Ish

I have a friend who sparks me. There's just something about her that makes me feel child-like and rejuvenated. We can sit and color at the coffee table or have intense theological conversations. I feel I can be me around her.

I've been battling depression and have been on anti-depressants for the past couple of months. I was very hesitant at first to get any sort of "help" because I was raised to think it's all in my head. If I tell myself to be happy, I will, inevitably, be happy. Ha. I tried that for a year and it got me nowhere but bad yuckiness. But now I'm working my way through it and am finally to a point where life is good again. I've surrounded myself with people who I thought I wasn't good enough for but who inspired me. I've found that they gain just as much out of my company as I do theirs'.

For my birthday, my friend gave me this book, "Ish" by Peter H. Reynolds. It's written like a children's book, you know the kind you can read in two minutes because there's only 5 words per page. This is the most influential book I've read in years. It's about a boy who, like me, is an artist. One day he was sitting down at the kitchen table painting a vase of flowers and his brother comes along and basically tells him his painting sucks and that it looks nothing at all like a vase of flowers. The boy tries, through many more attempts, to make a painting that looks more perfect but finally gives up, crumpling every painting. His sister grabs the crumpled paintings off the floor and runs to her room where she's hung every one of his discarded paintings on her bedroom wall. She points to the boy's very first painting and says, "I like this one the best." He says, "but it doesn't look anything like a vase." She replies, "it looks vase-ish." The boy's creativity suddenly comes alive and he paints trees that look tree-ish, houses that look house-ish, fish that look fish-ish and so on.

I haven't painted in about a year. I've been so caught up in what other people think of me and my work that every time I had a creative idea, I would immediately tell myself that it wasn't good enough, it wasn't perfect. What I've forgotten is that I am good enough in God's eyes. My paintings might not be perfect, but they are ish, they're me-ish.

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