Last week my brother Scott told me a fascinating story. Apparently I was born left-handed,and my grandmother was constantly taking crayons & stuff out of my left hand and putting them in the right hand. He remembers this very clearly, and my dad confirmed it. Dad went on to tell me that 1) He himself used to drive his golfing buddies crazy putting right-and-left handed, and 2) Grandaddy (his father) did almost everything but writing with his left hand as dominant.
In Grandmother’s defense, we are both certain she was just trying to make things easier on me; after all, it’s a right-handed world out there. But Scott and I were on the subject of “parents trying to get you to go down a path you’re just not meant to go, even if they truly want what is best for you”, and this just sort of was an epiphany for me. Allow me to explain:
Long ago, because of course my monetarily successful parents wanted me to be monetarily successful as well,I was expected to go into the medical field–a nurse, a veterinarian,something—but I was so miserable in college and begged and begged to be allowed to get an art degree. I still didn’t function well but I still did better than if I had been slogging through physics and chemistry and…god, i can’t even think about it. Biology I did well in; perhaps I could have found my way there. But I got an art degree, and much to everyone’s surprise I got a pretty good animation job not long after college, where I met my beloved husband Steve. We both went to an even better job after that, but soon after the dot-com company we worked for tanked. Steve went on to success at a very very good animation job and I was able to join him for a while until I was laid off.
Since then, I have floundered here and there. I took up puppetry again and had some modest success building puppets for others until I couldn’t look at a sewing machine anymore. I’ve done retail of all sorts–one wonderful job I had 12 years until the store closed, and several absolutely horrible ones that left me nearly in tears at the end of the day. I’ve worked for an art restorer, which was a fascinating job, and at a haunted house, which was exhausting.
Once I found a job working for a hospice company, doing art and entertainment out in the field for the elderly, I knew I had found my niche as far as working for an actual company goes; I have been out of the “workplace” so long it’s like I’m feral; I can’t stand being cooped up under someone else’s rules and I just go crazy. I’m probably pretty unhireable in that respect. I have always followed rules as in respecting authority—my boss I had for 12 years at an art supply said I was the most honest person she knew— but as far as trying to do things the way people want me to do them, I found the most profound quote–however ordinary it might seem to anyone else—in my favorite show on TV right now, Better Call Saul:
Jimmy McGill, later known as the notorious Saul Goodman :
There’s no point in me doing this if I can’t be myself. Every time I try to do things someone else’s way, it blows up in my face.
I know I have always wanted to work as an artist; specifically with cartoons, be it having a cartoon strip or greeting cards(I almost always make my own cards unless I am pressed for time) or my own magazine or comic book. This past year, we have had some personal hardships around our place but it seems to have deepened my resolve to work my tail off on my own art and get it out there. Which I do; I have started working so hard in my little office that I forget to come down and feed myself sometimes. I wish I would have had this work ethic long ago, but a friend forwarded me an article about how You’re Never too Old to Do something Amazing so I figure, at least I got started NOW.
And so, suddenly discovering that I am left-handed but was forced to be right-handed has suddenly thrown open a door of “what am I capable of that perhaps I was held back from before?”
I began one of the many drawing challenges I now do to keep my drawing/creative chops fresh; this time I am completing the tasks left-handed. It’s a 100-Monster Drawing Challenge, and here are the results of my first few days!!
Not bad, eh? I am particularly proud of the werewolf.
So strap in, folks, it’s gonna be a fun ride!!!