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The drawer of things that didn’t work out

About six months ago I learned how to knit. Sitting in front of online videos I stitched and stitched until my fingers bled and my dreams were tangled within yarn. I loved it. I would rest in my chair, knitting us all this and that and I thought, okay, this is enough. I am going to grow old and knit, watch sunsets and feed my family. At the age of 50 I was retiring.

What I didn't realize was that I was also hiding. It's very tempting to do that. To stop putting ourselves out there. To lick old wounds instead of making new ones.

During this time I was also painting. I would share them with friends and friends would encourage me in that way only real friends can. One thing led to another and I find myself here, sharing my art publicly. And with that comes an awful lot of vulnerability.

My son had a bad afternoon the other day. He didn't want to talk about it for a while but I finally was able to get him to open up to me about what had happened to make him so upset. He told me that it was okay now, he was fine, because he had put what had happened in his drawer of things that didn't work out.

The drawer of things that didn't work out.

I cannot tell you how much this hit me. All the things I have clung to, the things I cling to. The worry, and yes, fear I have of putting myself out there again when I could just be knitting.

What if I do the best I can and things don't work out? What if I never sell another piece of art? Does that mean I am not an artist?

What I realize is that no one can give me that. It is mine alone to claim. I am an artist. It is what I have to give to the world. And yes, maybe things won't work out. And yes, it will hurt. But I'll still be painting, because it is what I have to give.

My son showed me his drawer not long after he told me about it. We opened it up and sifted through the many things he's placed in there. It was so beautiful. This secret place that was just his to help him let go and to keep going on. I understood looking into it that a full life means having a very full drawer, wounds and all.

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