This summer, we embraced fimo. Or at least one of has, and with glee.
As he carefully nestles little pieces of clay upon one another and transforms the odd blocks into something quite charming, both his sister and I realized yesterday, "You're really good at this!" He smiled and agreed.
It donned on me that this was another opportunity for him to settle into his own and find the peaks and valleys that make up his person. Don't we all do that? It's one of the beauties in life---- that for whatever age we may find ourselves in, we still have room for growth, as long as we're open to it.
It's good to find new talents. To define yourself through varying means and even to surprise yourself, for if you hold on too steadfastly to who you think you are throughout your life, you limit yourself.
I spent my childhood drawing. Every opportunity I got, I was drawing something and it became part of the framework of how others perceived me. How I perceived myself. On each birthday and holiday I received art supplies from family and friends. It was who I was to them. I gobbled up this identity, comfortable in the knowledge that I was a talented artist. Heck, I even won the school-wide poster contest in fourth grade! I knew I was good.
And then, amongst the many art classes I took in high school (the easy route for me), I took watercolors. And it changed my world.
For the first time ever, another student in my class was a better artist than I was. Not even better, she was a water coloring genius. I cringed as she continuously cranked out masterpiece after masterpiece to the oohs and awes of my teacher and fellow students. While I, on the other hand, was a water coloring blunderer. Each and every canvas quickly diverged from my exquisite intentions-----carefully drawn out so painstakingly in my familiar pencil--- to something like a big, gray foreboding sky with blotches running everywhere. I was so frustrated that I mentally gave up. I finished the class---barely----but I didn't learn from it. I left the class with a big hole in my artist's net that allowed my dreams and aspirations to fall through for quite some time.
Now, upon retrospect, it was the way I perceived myself. Rather than learning from my experiences in watercolor and taking baby steps towards growth, I chose to adhere to what I knew, and that was my belief that I was an all-around talented artist. Rather than being open to change, I wanted the world around me to come to me in my comfortable place of perceived self-identity.
Thankfully, life has a way of teaching us lessons and offering up new talents and new experiences. And it allows us to learn from our mistakes. I no longer adhere unwaveringly to who I believe I am. I try to be open to change and to the growth that it offers. But similarly, I welcome newfound talents with open arms.
While watching my son create his whimsical fimo creatures, I smile at his growth and his self awareness. I hope he is always open to new definitions of himself.