First of all, after many moons of slackassitude I have finally gotten around to adding some links. If ever you wondered where Lola goes when she's on the internet you now have a list. Of course, the list starts off with my girls, however, there are a few other sites I frequent that might give you a giggle or two, or at least give you a few options when you're looking to waste some time on the internet.
And now, on with the show...
As some of you know, I started out in this world as an artist. I was born with the bug. When all the other kids in the neighorhood were trying to unload watered down Hi-C to the adult population for a quarter a cup, I was taping my Crayola Creations up on the garage wall, having the Hi-C kids' table set up at the entrance, and pawning my glorious artwork off for a mere $50 a piece. I had noticed that all my friends' moms had their kids drawings on the fridge and decided that maybe they'd like some of mine up there as well, seeing as mine were more expertly rendered and all. No one could rock a crayola drawing of a mountain range and a unicorn like Lil Lola.
Later, I went to art school. Saying that I loved it would be a gross understatement. For the first time I was doing what I loved most each and every day. It was my element. However, as it happens with most post college kids, I got into the Real World (not the MTV version, the actual put-on-your-big-girl-panties-and-figure-out-how-to-pay-the-rent real world) and Life got in the way. My art started slipping away from me. It was replaced with cable bills, a grown-up job, dating, marriage, taking care of the elderly and their grandkids, and home repair.
After a while I forgot I ever had the inclination to paint/sculpt/take photographs/draw/etc. Then, one sad day, I realized that I had hidden my sketchbooks out of sight because every time I saw a blank sheet of drawing paper I felt ashamed. I was ashamed (and rightly so) because I knew that God had put this desire in me, had given me this gift of art, and I was not only wasting it but I refused it outright. I let the mundane override the blessing.
At that point I thought there was nothing I could do about it. My art had left me. I couldn't do it anymore. But that wasn't true. The truth was that I was scared. I was here in the grown up world and I didn't think I was a good enough artist to be successful. That fear kept me from painting for the better part of a decade.
In that time I went through a multitude of bad things happening to me. Life picked me up, shook me around, backhanded me, then dropped me on my head. Then one day I felt the old familiar tingle in my belly. I unearthed my sketchbook and went out and bought some watercolors and painted a portrait of two of my favorite little girls in the whole world to give to their mama for Mother's day. Just like that. It came out of nowhere.
Since then I have tried to draw a little every day. Every stroke of the pencil or pen counted. If I was on the phone I was doodling. I would sketch the characters in the books I was reading so I could see what they looked like. It was a whole lot of nothing sketches, but I was getting back in the habit of moving my pencil.
For my birthday, my ever supportive husband cleared all the stuff out of the junk room, bought me a good easel, and handed me cash money to buy supplies. My Dad, out of the blue, gave me a blank canvas. Since then I have painted every day. I have paint in my hair again, the callus is back on my middle finger of my left hand where the paintbrush hits, and my right brain is back in business.
Life still backhands me, and the rent is still due, but now there is a place I can escape for a while and recharge. My art came home to me, and just in time. The best part is, at 31 years old, I no longer care whether or not I'm good enough. I'm good enough for me. If the only place my paintings end up is on my parents' family room wall and in the homes of my nearest and dearest I can be happy that I am still following my dream. Dreams don't have to be world changing, but following them is ALWAYS life changing. I smile a lot more now.
And to my inspiration facillitator, the lovely and charming Miss A: Thank you. Go on, girl! Live it and love it, you Dream Follower you!