Day 13. Delight: OURSELVES
Let's turn our spotlight inward and celebrate the delight we discover in *ourselves*
Hello, my GUT peeps!
What a wonderful week of delight we’ve had, filled with nature, clothes, food, objects, senses, and the sheer joy of drawing. Today is our last day of drawing delights. Starting tomorrow, we will go in a different, FUN-focused direction.
If you’ve just joined the GUT and our 30-Day Drawing Habit, WELCOME! You’re not too late to jump in to the 30-Days, and continue drawing with us into the future.
I am so, so happy you’re here.
Now, onwards to our final day of delights!
Our biggest delight? OURSELVES.
I Celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
Honestly, those opening lines of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass always irked me. He comes off a wee bit arrogant, right? “Everything I assume for me, you should assume for you??” Seriously, dude? And to celebrate oneself? Sing oneself?? I mean, come on. Get over yourself, Walt.
AND YET. WHY NOT?! Why not celebrate ourselves? Every single person in the GUT is worthy of celebration for a million different reasons. And while each of us would have zero trouble singing the praises of other GUT members (we do it in the GUT chat every darn day!), it’s often so, so hard for us to celebrate ourselves. Why is that??
Given all the public-facing stuff I do, it might surprise you that I struggle with putting myself in the spotlight. I’m quite comfortable publicly celebrating someone else with my work, especially people who don’t usually get a spotlight. But turning that attention on to me? Barf. Even the thought of it makes me feel queasy.
Even though I know in my brain it might help or encourage someone, I feel uncomfortable openly celebrating my accomplishments and positive qualities. Why??
At some point along the way, I learned that being proud of myself on the outside makes me appear arrogant and shallow. Worse, if I am proud on the inside, it makes me a bad person.
Another way of saying this: I was taught to make myself small so other people could feel big. I was taught that taking up space took space away from others. I was taught an Either/Or, zero-sum way of looking at the world and other people, and in turn at myself. Yeesh.
When we put ourselves down or deny our strengths, we refuse people the opportunity to connect with us for us and for us to learn from one another. When we don’t allow ourselves to be fully ourselves around people, it sends the message that they aren’t allowed to be proud of themselves around us, either. That is not modesty. That is not confidence.
Everyone eventually loses a zero-sum game.
When I look at the people I most admire for how they exist in the world, they are not dimming their lights for others. Not at all. They are standing strong, speaking up and making their art and doing it in a way that owns their full selves AND invites others to own their full selves, too. Now, that is real confidence.
Instead of you OR me, they see things as you AND me. Not “either/or” but “yes/and.”
So how can those of us who have a hard time being proud of ourselves (often to a point of losing sight of all there is to be proud of) cultivate a little self-celebration? How can we get on Walt Whitman’s bandwagon and start to sing a song of ourselves? How can we make ourselves feel worthy of our own time and attention?
This is the GUT, so let’s turn to visual art. Let’s look at some self-portraits created by artists who have done some self-examination and felt themselves worthy of their own time and attention.
The following work relates to what we’re going to do today, but as a reminder, it is in no way instruction or an expectation or even guidance. What we’re doing is way different and NOT about doing a “good drawing” today. (Process over outcome!) I share these artist’s self-portraits with you simply to inspire you and show you what others before you have created to explore celebrate themselves. See what catches your eye/heart/mind and what doesn’t. (We are where we put our attention!)
Here’s how a handful of artists celebrate themselves:
A quick dip into some artist’s self-portraits
And with that, my friends, let’s move onto drawing today’s final delight.
DON’T WORRY. THIS IS NOT ABOUT DOING A GOOD DRAWING. IN FACT, I PROMISE YOU TODAY’S DRAWINGS WILL BE HILARIOUS (and super moving.)
Today’s drawing is all about finding the delight in ourselves and using drawing to represent it - not for the purpose of making a “good drawing” but for the purpose of giving ourselves 10 minutes to acknowledge our own DELIGHTFUL QUALITIES and bravely sharing them with others. And have fun while doing it.
I’ll give you some basic drawing support, and you take it from there.Sound good? I can’t wait to learn all about everyone’s delightful qualities. BE BRAVE, MY GUT!