I was thinking last night about the Mystery Mentor project and what my last message would be to my mentee. Through a twist of fate, my mentor, an angel mentor who came into the game halfway through January, lives in the next town over, and has even invited me to one of her workshops this week!
But what to say to the mentee? What would see her with Believing Eyes and help her through the tough times?
And then realized I want to write this letter to all of you — to the Me of two years ago, to the girls I get emails from, to those just starting. To old hats and youngsters alike.
To the younger sister I’ll never have by blood, but may by spirit.
It is going to happen.
I know it is hard. I know, right now, that your dreams still feel so far away, stars in distant galaxies, swirling out of reach. You’re bound to the Earth beneath your feet and watch, dazed, as others achieve what you want so badly, your heart aches in your chest.
And because they are closer to your star, you are going to compare yourself to them. This is inevitable, and will happen your entire life. Never mind that they’ve been working on things for years, or have more experience, or are older — in your mind, nothing will matter but the fact that they are doing what you wish you were.
You’ll work on your art and compare it to others, wondering why they get more comments or views or tweets than you. You’ll post to your blog and watch your inbox and wonder what you did “wrong.” Where are they? Why hasn’t the world noticed you?
When do you get your wings?
They say hindsight is 20/20, but that’s only if you turn around and look behind you. Sometimes, we become so focused on the distant star, we don’t notice we’ve begun to fly from the ground and float into the blackness. And, oh, darling, it is dark! As you begin to navigate far from your comfort zone, you won’t know where to turn. You’ll be scared, frightened of taking a wrong turn, one that takes you farther from your dream.
But there is no such thing as a wrong turn. What we believe is best for us may not be what is truly the best for us. There is a divine order to things, a power greater than you and me and every being on this planet, and She will not lead you astray.
When the fear is building in you — your heart pumping faster, palms slick with sweat, stomach tied in impossible knots — be still. Remember who you are and where you came from, the experiences in your life that shaped you, the talents only you possess. Listen to the wind or a song on a random playlist or the random doodles in your sketchbook.
Life is scary. But you have a fire burning in you, a passion that cannot be put out by anyone but yourself. You will rise and fall and skin your knees, and that is The Moment that decides everything — will you get up? Or will the count hit 10 and the lights go out but for that tiny, far-off spec of a dream?
Take it from me — it will happen. And when it does, you’ll look back and wonder how you ever thought something else was your destiny in life. Your star will change as you do, will shine brighter as you grow, will warm you on the coldest, saddest days.
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a writer. I knew in my heart I’d grow up to write amazing short stories and novels. I wrote — and continue to write — in my spare time, obsessively typing while watching prime-time TV (learning how to type faster and spell as I did so!). I was so focused on that, I never considered art. Never thought I’d draw or paint or doodle. I was going to write. And my eyes were so glued to that star, it was only a few years later, when I was writing articles for magazines, that I realized I’d made it — only my star had changed for the better.
Yes, some people will seemingly come out of nowhere and gain popularity, and others will hold it for years to come, but that is their path, not yours. Have Faith, darling, because it’s going to be dark for a long time.
But that only means when you reach that first star — and see all the others lined up behind it, obscured from view by your myopic mind — the blazing joy will only be that much brighter.
Now get out that paintbrush and go to work.
With all my love,
The image above is of my painting Everygirl, who is all of us, any color or race or age -- we are all creative beings. You can grab an 8"x8" print of her at my Etsy shop.