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If someone doesn’t like your work, it does not mean that you are not good enough. Just that the person has different preferences. Never give up.
Being a writer and an aspiring artist, I have known the pain of rejection since a very young age. The fact that the quality of my work is judged by how other people choose to judge my work, makes things complicated. But I have learnt that it is important to keep going and keep doing what keeps one’s heart ignited with passion.
How? I still had to figure that out.
Well, my question was answered by an experience with my friend who is a professional artist. Very often I have met her at her home when I was down, because a written piece was not accepted or something that I cooked painstakingly got no attention from the gathering that I took it to. I remember I had once poured my heart out on a story, working passionately on every emotion. I had beamed with pride when I submitted it, but was told that it was ‘not good enough.’ Naturally it broke my heart.
I decided to go to her home following this. Dunked bourbon biscuits in milk is a comfort food for me. When I reached her home, I saw that she had laid the coffee table with chocolate bourbon biscuits and a mug of coffee. As I ate through the biscuits the sweetness of the melted chocolate and the heady aroma of brewed coffee lifted up my mood.
While we were talking, she said ‘Come with me, I will show you something.’
She took me to her porch where there was a huge painting beautifying the space. I know this place to be her sacred space where she comes to meditate and recharge herself every day. The flowers that sit smiling playing with the breeze, hanging from rooftops in dangling vases or from the soil make it the perfect spot in the sunshine.
‘Look at this painting,’ she told me. ‘Would you want to know the story behind this painting and why I have placed this here?’ She asked.
‘Of course’, I said, sipping in the coffee.
She said, ‘I had painted this when I was merely a young girl. It was one of the paintings that I was to exhibit at the local fair that allowed young people to showcase their talent. I was in high spirits and so were my family who had accompanied me to cheer me up. But the one with caution in her heart was my mother. She did not know how well it would be received, not because she thought that I had done a bad job, but because the painting was open to be judged by people who have different tastes, experience, and exposure.
The day moved on and not one person stopped by to ask for the price. Some looked at it, pulled my cheeks or tapped my head and walked away. I sat withered, with my confidence simmered, fighting tears with every passing person. I sat eating a pink candy floss. My mother stood nearby pretending not to see my emotions. As the lights of the fair came up, the whole place vibrated with a new energy. It was then that one connoisseur of art, who was quite famous locally, and was invited to view the fair and exhibition, stopped by my painting.
‘Gorgeous’, he had said to me and offered to buy it immediately to put up in his school.
I was taken by surprise. I still remember how he had praised me for my work. He said that I held promise as an artist and even offered me a place at his school.
But, I refused to sell it to him.
‘Why?’ I asked bewildered.
‘Because I wanted to keep the lesson.’
While coming back from the fair, as we looked at the night sky and the twinkling lights on the way, my mother told me –
‘The rose is my favourite flower, but your grandma loves the lily. This does not make the rose lesser than the lily or vice versa. Judgement of your work are just people’s preferences, and has got nothing to do with the talent of a person. The roses in our garden still bloomed, and bloomed bright, emanating a beautiful scent. They did not try to change themselves, or worry about grandma loving the lilies more. It bloomed because this is what made them rise to their life’s purpose. This is what gave meaning to their life. This is what made the rose, the rose. Judgements are only preferences; keep this in mind. They have nothing to do with the quality of your work. Work passionately, give your best, and as you saw today, it will not go waste.’
I hugged my friend with gratitude because this was something I really needed to hear that day. When I am at crossroads or doubt, I always think of the lesson from her story.
Image source: videoblocks
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A Social Media Content Writer by profession. A writer by heart. A genuine foodie. Simple
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