I’ll Never Give Up


Before they were even for sale, my friend Susan said she wanted one of my Cactus Potholders.  When I put them up for sale, she asked again, but it was too late, the one she wanted was sold.

It wasn’t that I was ignoring her, it was that I didn’t believe her.  I didn’t believe she really wanted one, I thought she was just being nice.

That’s how bad I was feeling about myself.  I couldn’t believe she really wanted one.

I hate to admit it, but sometimes, when I don’t get a lot of feedback on my blog or facebook, or I don’t sell something I’ve made, I start to get down.  Then I start to think that I’m “over”, I’m done as an artist.

Rationally, I know this  isn’t true.  That the “ups an downs” are normal as are the rejections and successes that any creative person will experience when putting their work out into the world.

But this has nothing to do with being rational.  As much as I “know” it, when I’m feeling this way, what I know rationally has little meaning.

The thing that saves me, is that no matter how awful the feeling is, no matter how much I may think I’m “over”, I don’t give up.

And I’ll never give up.  I will always find a way to be creative.  Because my art isn’t just something I do for fun or to make money, it’s what I’ve chosen to do. It’s who I am.

I worked hard to get to this point in my life, where I can do my work everyday.  Where I can earn a living by being an artist.

It’s something I wanted my whole life, but only within the last ten years actually believed it could happen. And now that I have it, I’m going to do whatever it takes to keep it.

One the things I’ve learned from being an artist is that I’ll always have another idea.   Because no matter how I feel, I’m still going to go to my studio in the morning to do my work, however it may manifest.

When I told Susan about what I was feeling she said she understood.   She was having her own doubts lately and  told me she was on her way to the ocean.  She was going to take off her shoes and socks and  walk in the winter cold water, to “give herself a jolt”.

Within moments of hearing this, Fate knocked at my studio door.  When I opened the door, she didn’t want to come in, she was looking at me with a ball in her mouth.

Fate has never done this before.  Did she somehow know what I needed?

Without a coat and in my studio slippers, I went outside into the icy cold (like the ocean in the beginning of the season) and jumping up and down to keep me warm, I threw the ball for her.  Again and again I threw the ball, until she got tired and I was jolted, just a little more, from my malaise.

I don’t like to think of myself as being so susceptible to outside forces, but in truth, the idea of rejection is one of the things that kept me from doing my art for so many years.

Early in our relationship, Jon told me his way of dealing with rejection was to give himself a certain amount of time to feel bad when something he wrote got rejected.   A book was a week, an article was a day.

Knowing this gives me courage, not because I apply it to myself, but because it speaks to the kind of rejection he has experienced in his creative life.  And how he kept at it and succeeded.

And I know it doesn’t stop, the rejection and the success, as long as I keep making my art, there will be both.

But that’s part of my life and I’d rather subject myself to it than not, if that’s what it takes for me to keep making my art.

14 thoughts on “I’ll Never Give Up

  1. Maria, you could have no idea how close to home this post was to me. In my mix of creative and artistic endeavors, it is my music that is most sensitive to rejection…and I confess…I am SO sensitive, I sometimes mis-interpret comments and things people say to me. I crumble into dust…and cry and agonize.
    Such was the case with some rthings that happened last weekend.
    I DO try and clarify remarks…to process them and synthesize them…but…last weekend’s episode was difficult…and I’m still struggling to deal with it.
    I’ll remember every word you said in this (I’ve bookmarked it)…and will make a more conscious effort to send my “likes” to YOU.
    And for what it’s worth…you inspire me. A small group of us is still planning a get-together for the white underwear project. We are ALL “#METOO .
    Let us all promise to never doubt ourselves…and embrace rejection and contemplate the critiques, put them in perspective, let it go…and continue to be our authentic, beautiful, Goddess selves❤️
    Thank you, Maria.

    1. Virginia, it’s this kind of connection I hope to make when I write something like this. And I love your promise at the end of your comment. That’s just the kind of support we all need. And don’t worry about sending me “likes” it’s about me knowing inside myself, not always needing support and confirmation from the outside. I’d love to see your white underwear project when it happens. The idea of that makes me happier than a hundred sales. Thanks for your good and honest words. And I hope you can let go of your ordeal from last weekend.

  2. Sometimes when something doesn’t sell it isn’t because it is rejected but rather a commentary on the state of the economy. I find that winter is hard on folks, heating costs are higher, income can be lower at least mine is because of the ice and snow we had. Also Christmas has created bills that are now to be paid. I adored your piece, “Show Your Soul”, but it was above my touch. I’m excited that you made some goddess potholders so I can have one of your goddesses. Hang in there, Spring is coming soon

    1. It’s so true Margaret, and I tell my friends, all the time, who have their own businesses that January is one of the bad months for sales, As you say after Xmas, taxes due, and the winter in general. It’s one of those things I know, but it doesn’t make a difference when I”m in that state. It has to do with my own bad feelings about myself. And I love making my potholders for people who can’t afford my other work. I so get it. Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. I am a nurse, so I guess creative in a different way…but I know that when I am criticized for even one small task, I often magnify it to “I am a terrible nurse” or “I knew I shouldn’t have gone into nursing.”
    Thankfully I am able to pull out of it by the next day, because I AM a good nurse. But it is hard not to magnify what we perceive as, or are told, are our deficiencies.
    By the way, when I get those Christmas bills paid off, I’m thinking I’m going to need a new potholder. 🙂

    1. The risk is so much higher for a nurse Cathy. But it’s great how you go right back at it, and are able to know you’re really a good nurse.

  4. two steps forward, one step back — still progress, tortoise style– and he did win the race! 😉

    we only fail if we fall and don’t get back up.

    January doldrums — ok….or January: time to relax, recharge, reflect, renew, reinvent — it is winter after all.

    Even Mother Earth sleeps so she can spring back to new and glorious, riotous life!

    (and dang it, I too saw a pot holder – black bordered fish one — too late to buy!)

    1. I did think of the tortoise Philip, he slowly entered my mind but I couldn’t hold onto him. You’re so right about January. It’s a slow time in so many ways. Maybe next year I’ll remember that and use it differently. And I didn’t make the fish into potholders yet, but there’s still hope for them. Thanks for your words.

  5. Oh Maria – it’s so good to hear this from yet another wonderful women. Sharing our lows along with our highs helps to show the balance which is always trying so hard to happen in our lives. I actually embrace the quiet times, spending time with books and tea and knowing that Guidance will send exactly the right clients my way when it’s time for them. The connection will always happen in the time of the Goddess!

  6. I love that Fate came to your door with her ball. Animals are so much smarter than they are mostly given credit for. My cats always know when I am down.

  7. Hello Maria.. I am a new fan of your wonderful blog. I have read Jon’s for a while and am impressed by the positive influence you have on his life and outlook. I admit to being an animal lover…I have 2 beloved cats and miniature donkeys that bring tons of warm joy to my heart and life. I also love art, looking at all forms and spending some time painting. I totally understand your feeling of rejection at times, but this is what I find compelling about what I have read: you truly are an awesome artist. The way you feel ‘things’, describe subjects that interest you and the absolute abandonment that is felt while looking at your work is what makes everything about you so special. In essence, I respect the freedom that you find…to create what you feel. My problem is also with rejection, but from myself. I have a hard time getting started on a painting for fear that it will not come out like I expect it to…so most of the time, I find it easier just to not start. You have given me inspiration to just do it, and I thank you for that.

    1. Hi Sue, it’s nice to know you’re there. And I hope you do start that painting. My work rarely comes out as I imagined it, but I’ve come to accept that that is what happens between my mind and the physical reality of the piece. I think you just have to trust the process.

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