I just have to come face to face with the fact that I am not talented, you know. I can appreciate and I love music but … It’s sad, really. I feel like I have a lot to express and I’m not gifted.
This is something Scarlett Johansson’s character, Vicky or Cristina, I forget which, says in the Woody Allen movie: Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008). Awesome movie, by the way.
That was very much me speaking up until about 12 years ago. Yes, I actually said that, in my own way: an appreciator of art rather than a participator. True, in my defence, I had had my love for art ignored, dismissed and discouraged by others at critical junctures in my life (I know, boohoo) but in retrospect I am sad for the me that accepted that, and believed it. I also started dancing late in my life, for very similar reasons.Dancing taught me something incredibly valuable: that talent isn’t just a gift, that there is hard work that needs to accompany it…and time. Yes, to be extraordinary, talent is a necessary part of your make up but it is only one part. You have to do the work! You have to put in the time! You have study and practise and gain skills! If you don’t care enough to sacrifice some time and effort towards a skill, you’re never going to make it and that is a fact!
Below: me on stage instructing tae-bo, ably supported by the children of some of the mothers in the class.
I’d love to be able to play a musical instrument too, but not enough to put in any time or effort into it, so I can’t play an instrument. Well, I can play Jingle Bells on a recorder and piano but that hardly counts, amirite? And I am content with that, no existential angst over the fact. However, without art in my life, loads of existential angst! Hell, even with art, loads of existential angst! But with art I have a creative outlet. Let me rather put it this way then, without art in my life I was immensely unfulfilled, and as a result, often extremely unhappy. I filled the hole with writing, rugby, kickboxing, tae-bo instructing and dancing. I loved watching and playing rugby, I loved being a personal instructor and I really loved dancing, but those things don’t even come close to how I feel about art.
Below: me at a dance rehearsal doing the Time Warp in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (mid-pelvic thrust!).
So it was to art that I returned. I began tentatively by opening an interior decorating company. In addition to running the business, l was creating work for décor outlets that I had at the Stables and Essenwood markets. As I put in the time I gained skills, and with this I gained confidence. Finally, I summoned the courage up to join the KZNSA (Kwazulu-Natal Society of Art) where I began to exhibit once a year in the members’ exhibition. In my very first exhibition, to my immense astonishment, my work sold and also appeared in the regional newspaper. Confidence from a positive result! Despite this however, there was still that self-doubt further fuelled by those bullies in the art crowd who are elitist, high art, highbrow fascists. You know who or what I mean, amirite? Now I had 3 choices: one, listen to them and give up art, two, go take art lessons with one of them, or three, go get educated in an academic institution. Now let me tell you, despite what anyone may say, there is no arguing with a degree in art, especially not one followed by honours and masters. There it is in black and white; you have put in the time, put in the effort and gained considerable skills. So I selected option three and I have not looked back.
Below: My Decor Magic company van in 2002.
Got the skills now? Well, it doesn’t end there! Now you have to show up! Keep on making, keep on working, keep on learning…and exhibit, exhibit, exhibit! Because when your opportunity comes you need to be ready, you need to be sharp, you need to have the skills and experience. You need to be ready! And then you can kick ass!
OK, so now back to where I began, with Scarlett: is she not one of the most beautiful women you have ever seen? Amirite? She quite literally takes my breath away. I so crush on her every time I see her! Here is the thing: she could have taken the easy path and parlayed her looks for the femme fatale or damsel-in-distress roles. Hollywood is always looking for another Marilyn. But she did not, she put in the time and the effort and gained some skills and she is all the more extraordinary for it, amirite? She is a fine, fine actress.
PS: Talking about movies, a new addition to my list of awesomeness is the movie: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. You have to, have to see this! It’s based on a book by Stephen Chbosky (he was involved in getting the movie made too, producer or even director, I think) which I am definitely going to read. It stars Emma (/Hermoine) Watson of Harry Potter fame and she is really good in it, and so are the rest of the cast. Emma and her crowd are the artsy, non-conformist bohemians who take in the protagonist, Charlie. Charlie is dealing with depression brought on by the suicide of his best friend and is very much the proverbial wallflower. Much like in real life the adults only feature in brief moments of contact with the teens who pretty much do their own parenting and growing-up through experimenting with alcohol, drugs and sex and making loads of bad choices and mistakes. In this way they find out who they really are and who others are also. It really is worth seeing so do so!
What is also pretty awesome is that the movie has a great Rocky Horror sequence! Yes, did do you see how I did that? A segue: from me dancing the Time Warp to Emma Watson and co. in suspenders in the Don’t Dream It (be it) sequence of The Rocky Picture Show! You see how It’s all connected?! Just like life!
So it is totally worth seeing! Trust me, I am right (rite)! And that is why it is on the swany’s list of awesomeness!