taking flight into art, love, and life (the blog)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

on confidence

in the studio
(me, 2006)

I learned how to be fearless through the process of learning how to paint in 2006 and 2007. I was 30 years old and feeling anything but fearless, yet that was the year I fell deeply in love with mixed media painting. Like a crush. An obsession. And I desperately wanted to learn how to make those beautiful messes on canvas - the ones with all the textures and drippy paints and collaged layers of papers. I bought books & took workshops & experimented & painted & crafted & shredded & stenciled & smudged & smeared like my heart depended on it. Turns out all of that creative abandon of spilling layer upon layer on a canvas FREED me up. And my confidence grew. In art and in life.

Becoming fearless felt exhilarating, like an exhale, like I could finally be who I was.

Very quickly, my portfolio bloomed. I launched my online shop. I got a book deal. I wrote the book. Magazines came knocking. My art found new eyes. Big deals came a’calling. Contracts were signed. My art became licensed — landing in home decor stores & gift shops all over the world (dream. come. true.)  I launched an e-course — then ebooks. Through it all, I wanted to share what I’d learned by crafting a creative life — how full my heart had become. People listened. The kindness kept building and my confidence grew. Life was good. My friends would often comment on how fearless I seemed. They were right. Painting, and growing into the creative life, taught me to believe in myself and I will carry that gift with me, always.

New short do. Stacked in the back. This feels like me. Happy to have it chopped and cropped.
(me, 2011)

And then, somewhere around 2011, I lost my confidence. I suppose new parenthood and a particularly traumatic birth were my cracking open moments, the portals in which I lost a little bit of my spark. Last year, in 2012, I began to dive deep into healing the parts of myself that didn't get tended to during the last several years of living with confidence as well as the parts that got cracked open when I became a mama to a most adorable little boy named True.

All good. All beautiful in those messy, important ways.

Untitled

Untitled

And then I found myself gathered a couple of weeks ago with nine other women. We called our gathering The Radiate Sessions because we spent a lot of time radiating possibilities with one another when it came to our businesses, and our business' soul missions. During the weekend the word confidence kept coming up for me over and over. I could feel it coming around again, like a long lost friend that you haven't seen in ages yet there they are, just as you remembered them to be, yet older, wiser, softer.

Over and over again, I am learning the power of being with our people, our tribes. I hadn't realized how deeply I missed this part of myself until this gathering had me feeling alive, free, and unearthing pieces pieces of lost confidence.

Radiating goodness with these ladies.

There was a beautiful hour during the weekend when the women gifted me with an unexpected palm circling ceremony. It will be something I remember, always. I cried (hard) as these friends reflected back to me my significance in their lives, and in the work I'm doing in the world. There were gifts, and notes, and beautiful words. I remember thinking to myself remember this, be present for this, take it in, allow yourself to receive. I felt incredibly seen, celebrated, adored, loved. Without a doubt, this circling ushered my confidence back into my life. A humbler, softer, cleaner confidence. I was even given a little sea monster during this circling with a secret message hidden inside. The secret message? Confidence. Seriously friends, I am not making it up. Sea monster = message from the universe = awe. How did that little sea monster know what I most needed to hear? There are no mistakes. 

(Photo by Andrea Scher)

Later in the day we painted words on our bodies. Have you ever done this? I've done lots of variations of this exercise at other gatherings, and it's a powerful, soul healing declaration. This time around, I choose, of course, to invite confidence. It seemed to insist I acknowledge it with a celebratory YES! And so I did. It's not lost on me that taking the leap into painting and the creative life all of those years ago is what gifted me a beautiful, fearless confidence. And now, all of these years later,  paint is being used again to welcome confidence back into my skin, into my life, into my heart. What a gorgeous full circle moment for me. 

What do you most need to here? Write it down. On a piece of paper. On your body. In your journal. What I've learned is that these declarations are little hope notes we gift to ourselves. They help us get clear, manifest, celebrate, and nurture the pieces of ourselves that need nurturing.

What a gift. Thank you, confidence. I'm so glad you're back. Thank you Radiate Sessions for....everything.

29 comments:

Susan Walls said...

Today is my 39th birthday and I feel more insecure than my 13 year old self ever did. You gave me the best birthday gift with this blog.

centsations said...

Thank you for sharing this! Confidence is one thing I know I struggle with daily, in my work and my self. Having a group of women to support and encourage you, not just when you need it most but always is wonderful!
Thank you! <3

Barbara said...

Very timely words for me today, thank you.

Sheila said...

I love your work so much and have many of your wonderful inspirational pieces around my home. Thank you for bringing such beauty and inspiration into my life and for this wonderful message today. It is what I needed to hear, especially today, so thank you again.

freedom45 said...

Wonderful piece of writing. I identify with all you have said. Actually I felt really emotional whislt reading your story, as it was pulling at things about me...re confidence! Something I have never had even as a child. It has held me back, made me take the easy road career wise, stopped me from living my life to the full. Thankfully through my collage I am finding a voice & building my confidence slowly. Your message today is so lovely to read as I have struggled this week with my confidence again. You have given me
some inspiration to return to my collage work again. Thank you so very much.

Sheila said...

I love your art and have many pieces around my home. Thank you for bringing such wonderful beauty and inspiration into my life and thank you for your inspiring words in your blog. It's exactly what I needed to hear today.

skylaroo1228 said...

So beautifully written. I really think there is a wonderful process that happens as we bring a child into our lives. Our attention goes to them, their milestones, their needs. It's a journey to re-find that balance and nurture our own needs and find our own confidence in ourselves. I have a son that was born a few weeks from True and I've found myself in that same journey this past year or so. Hugs girl!

Kim Boseley said...

What inspiration you are for the world. Your work has such a special place in my heart and has picked me up and dusted me off. I trust the journey. Thank you doesn't suffice! I appreciate you ;)

Aimee Snyder said...

I love this! I am hoping my long, lost friend (confidence) is just around the corner. My heart and soul have too much to create to let fear stop me.

Jeanine said...

A beautiful post. Lucky you, to find such a circle, and very in tune with yourself when you said "remember this, be present for this, take it in, allow yourself to receive." So often we deny ourselves the very moments we long for because we feel simultaneously embarassed at praise. Success is a see-saw. Either we feel we don't get enough of it, or we begin to doubt that we deserve it, or can keep doing it. Both are self-sabotage to confidence. Best to stay in the now, in the joy of doing, creating, living - and glad that's where you are. Looking forward to seeing your new work after this.

Jenna said...

I am so glad I found your blog. I am a lover of your art and when I first saw it I was obsessed with each piece. This post really spoke to me. Just getting my creative footing back after a transition and absence of creating I'm really lacking that confidence too. Trying to figure out how my creative life fits into my mommy of 3 life. Thank you for your transparency and honesty. Needed to hear this today. :)

Kathleen said...

I LOVED this post!! So so so loved it! Thanks for sharing!

Doodlebug said...

Awesome post Kelly! You not only have a gift for painting, but an awesome gift for words. Stand firm in your confidence! :)

Kaitlin Goodey said...

Ugh I love your blog so much but it actually keeps making me sad lately because of the self reflection is sparks in me. I just feel lonely lately. My husband is my best friend and my family is amazing but I've been yearning for gal pals. I always had so many friends growing up but ever since I graduated highschool nothing sticks. Friends come and go and it just seems the last few years due to moving around etc. there has been more going than coming. So i'm currently at a loss for what my word would be. I haven't found the word that would empower me.

I am however glad you found your word because you are such an inspiration to me!

Sue Nieske said...

This was a beautiful post and so inspiring...thank you. Was this a group of your friends or is this a retreat that others can seek out and become a part of? Please reply...thank you so much for being such an inspiration to me. Sue Nieske

Janet said...

As a fledgling artist and former student of your Flying Lessons, it is REALLY hard for me to imagine you lacking in confidence these days! You've been such an inspiration to so many people. But it is somewhat calming to know that even the most successful people, artists, have the same basic fears and insecurities those of us just starting out have. Thanks for sharing.

Teresa said...

Your message touched me. It was more important, today, that I hear it from you. Thank You!

Jessie Friedman said...

You have inspired me in so many ways - you have no idea! You have done it again today, sweet and talented lady. Thank you so much for all the wonderful gifts that you share with us - with the world. God bless.

Shells said...

Thank you Kelly Rae for giving me the confidence to call myself an artist. Thank you for introducing me to Flora Bowley two years ago, who gave me techniques and confidence to create beautiful art. Thank you for the Flying Lessons ecourse in 2011 and connecting me with a wonderful tribe of inspirational women. Many thanks to you both for giving confidence and inspiration to hundreds of women around the world. All the best for you and your family, love and hugs.

Lauren Rudolph said...

You are such an inspiration!! Finding your book last year was an aha moment for me. I had never thought of adding texture, papers, objects, etc to my paintings until I came across your work. Totally life changing for me! I can't thank you enough. As far as a woman's group retreat is concerned I'm putting it out there that I would be very interested in that. I wouldn't be able to go right this second but would love to start talking about it. Anyone interested??

Sharon Stanley said...

like all the other comment, i found this to be a beautiful post. my work last year was confidence...for me, to do something (write a book) i had wanted to do for many years but lacked the confidence to try. it got written, and i got a contract for it. never, ever, doubt this power of determining what is missing and then decide to make it happen. this year's word is authenticity. i can't wait to see where it takes me. love your blog kelly...i am inspired.

Paulissa Kipp said...

I absolutely adore the truths here and that you are brave enough for introspective. Such blessings can be found in that space. I'm curious about the palm circling. Can you explain that process? I've never heard of it.

Malini Parker said...

Your unique combination of Business Acumen + Authenticity + Humility + Desire to help others has had SUCH far reaching effects, all over the world. Thank you!

Monica said...

For the first time in 40+ years, I live on my own, as a single Mom with two daughters who look to me daily for wisdom, honesty, guidance, and confidence. I can finally say, I meet it happily. I am living my dream of creating artwork, and showing my children it's never to late to follow your heart. I've stumbled, and staggered, and stood back up again. They've witnessed it all. My soul loves the possibilities my life is showing me...I am grateful.
I look forward to getting to know many of you in the future... Here's to possibilities!

Paula's Originals said...

Thank you sweet lady. I do so appreciate ci ate your willingness to share in such a deep and personal way. You have given so much of yourself. Blessings. Paula

Renee said...

Kelly, you have been an inspiration to me for many years. I fell in love with your artwork, and then with you via your blog. Your gentle, open soul has helped me in so many ways. When I am frustrated with a project I remember your journeys, and the inspirational words that come from them. YOU have helped me to summons CONFIDENCE when it is lacking. Your mixed media inspired me to take an online course and explore a different medium. Creative souls NEED to release those inner artists, often and with passion. Thank you for always seeming to know what we need!

Lydia Kimble-Wright said...

I can think of so many words that apply to me and where I am on my life journey. Yet, if I am forced to choose one word, two words really, I chose "let go." Due to a disability, I gradually dropped out of my life years ago. Since then, I've been living in the past wanting to get my life back or in the future, looking to the time when I'll regain what I've lost. I know that I need to let go of both in order to live in the present.

Reading your post, I find myself nodding with recognition. Once again, your openness and honesty touches and speaks to me. Thank you for sharing your experience. It gives me hope that I too will find my way back. Blessings and love.

Coral said...

Such a raw honest post Kelly Rae. Thank you for sharing this so openly. That regardless of where we are on the artistic and business adventure, there are moments of strength and courage, but also of vulnerability - where we need to lean on the shoulders of others and look inwards until we can stand strong again.

These are the posts that give me strength - you know these open moments give others truth and direction and courage. But perhaps you don't realize how serendipitous and perfectly timed they truly are. Just when someone needs to hear it. With just the right words. And sometimes, from just the right person. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

What I most need to hear is the voice of someone who lives far away from me now, and with whom I used to play the fart game with. That is what I most need to hear.





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