My husband, my daughter and I have been spending almost all the last 6 week-ends in the mountains where temperatures are way lower than in the city, overheated by the summer sun.
Most mornings are spent at the municipal swimming pool. My husband and daughter swim for hours while I enjoy painting on a long chair.
Obviously, kids get curious and ask to take a peek at my sketchbooks.
It doesn’t take more than 2 seconds for my impostor syndrome to kick in.
Awkwardness is also very close. Impostor syndrome is common among creatives. It is the sign of intelligent and sensitive persons who are very conscious of everything they still have to learn.
They know what could be expected from a seasoned creative person (writer, illustrator, painter, aso.) and feel like their work is not good enough. So getting attention is very intimidating. Showing very imperfect work is nerve wrecking.
What’s very interesting about connecting with children is their lack of filter.
They are sincere. They are genuine. They are constant learning beings following their interest and curiosity.
If what you’re doing interest them, they come to you without any expectations. To be precise, they do not expect to see something exceptional, they only expect to see something new.
And they dismantle your impostor syndrome by talking straight to you.
The first meeting I have with a kid by the poolside, I’m painting a rose. The kid, a 10-ish year old skinny blond girl with long straight hair keeps walking past and forth me and takes several peeks at my sketchbook while I’m painting. She finally finds enough courage to tell me she finds the rose beautiful.
It touches me a lot. I thought I’m the most intimidated one but that girl fought her shyness and found a way to tell me what she thinks.
She showed a lot of courage.
This little scenario keeps happening with other kids and some adults too.
The kids, most of them less shy than the shy blond girl, come and ask questions and want to take a look at my sketchbooks.
It taught me to be more relaxed when they come to me.
I also learned how to respond to them and make clear only my daughter is allowed to draw in my sketchbook
Adults follow. And the impostor syndrome crawls back.
Adults have expectations. Adults can be judgmental. Adults can chose to use their social filters. Or not.
But so far, I have only met curious adults who are not used to see someone paint or draw in public. They’re not that interested in what’s inside my sketchbook. They try to define what I can or cannot do.
And that is exactly when I feel awkward and see the huge path that is still ahead of me.
I do my best so shush down my insecurities in these situations but acknowledging I don’t know how to do certain things make me feel vulnerable.
I guess it’s because working in corporate environment has taught me to always be ready to meet my boss/colleagues/internal clients expectations.
But this doesn’t happen in a corporate environment.
The take away of this experience is, I guess, even if I see a lot of imperfections in my creations, others will find interest and pleasure in looking at them.
Part of the creative path is accepting that even if we find what we create very imperfect and not attention worthy, others will actually enjoy it.
Sometimes we are the worst judges of our work.
If you’re curious about what I’m painting these days, here’s a sneek peek :