Be Your Own Work of Art

I have art covering the walls of a small flat on the lake overlooking the city skyline, and of an 82-year-old farmhouse down the road from an alpaca farm. Whatever the setting, art with a story helps me feel connected and at home. 

In the photo above, the charcoal sketch on the wall behind me was done by my ex. A younger, longer-haired me posed for the drawing. This piece of art recalls the story of a woman who turned her back on joy for too long.

It’s funny how I feel more vibrant and comfortable in my own skin now, in midlife. Even in black-and-white, where the shadows celebrate the lines in my 61-year-old skin. My shoulders are still just as bony as they were when the charcoal sketch was done. My hair? I chopped it off years ago…but something grew inside later. Confidence. Courage. Joy.

What if we saw ourselves as works of art in the making? Canvas that we stretch and transform, bringing it to new life with brush strokes and colors and textures of our own choosing. A reimagined image that depicts joy, courage, and confidence as it continues to develop through our own eyes. The only eyes that truly matter.

Can we really rewrite our story by recreating a picture of what we want to be and who we are? Can we really reimagine life? Can we paint over? Start again? Reinvent?

This, from writer Brianna Wiest on her Instagram page, stopped me in my tracks:

“I hope you will find the courage to redefine yourself on your own terms; to know that you are more than what circumstance made you adapt into. You are more than who you became to survive. You are more than what you chose when you didn’t realize there was a choice.”

Brianna Wiest,
Ceremony

Once we give ourselves permission to choose, we can become a blank canvas, ready for creating our own picture of what we want the life we’re living to look like. The canvas may be stained, torn, or frayed around the edges, but we can choose to transform it into a masterpiece. It will take time, and may remain unfinished for a long while. It may never be finished. But all we have to do is choose to begin, one brushstroke at a time.

I’m still painting my masterpiece, and I love what my eyes are seeing as I reimagine me in midlife. A me who feels connected and at home in any setting, because I’m connected and at peace with myself. That’s a pretty powerful picture.

Here’s to you being your own work of art. How are you reimagining yourself as you step out of the shadows of what everyone else thinks?


Featured image: Pexels photo library


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46 comments

  1. Thanks for the post. My first love was drawing & painting, but stopped years ago due to a tragedy. I bought supplies last year in hopes of motivating myself to start again, but have only pulled them out once to teach my grandson some basic techniques.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great post, well done. I’ve always admired that vibrant painting! I can’t say the retirement has made me want to re-invent myself; but I am spending more time and focus on the nuances. To use your art analogy, I’m adding more texture and bringing out the subtle colours of an existing painting.
    Cheers, and congrats on the 365!!

    Cynthia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Tom, for being part of the paint that’s allowing me to reimagine my masterpiece. I appreciate your support, and am inspired by your ongoing reinvention in multiple aspects of life — from bourbon to bocce ball 😁. Thank you.

      Like

  3. Retirement was not so much a reinvention but a realignment. It took about a year. Then I discovered the joy of doing what I wanted to do instead of what I felt I had to do to please others and society. Whether we reinvent or realign, I think it is a good process for women of our age to go through. A good time to start putting ourselves first.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So true! I started this way, but somewhere along the way gave in to “life’s demands” and lost sight of myself. It took me some time to start “me” again and I am still working on it. I love watching my daughters doing “them” at a much younger age! You painted a radiantly beautiful woman!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! I love your art analogy — very inspiring! I appreciate your positivity and zest for life! Congratulations on graduating from your Whiskey Internship! I love how you are smashing ageist stereotypes. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello, Natalie,

    I’ve only just discovered your blog and this was the second I’ve received. It arrives at a point in my life where I, too, have taken the reins of my life and begun my professional life on my terms. I’ll be 59 in a couple of days and this summer is the first opportunity I am taking to do something I’ve always wanted to do. Be an author. As I write these words, I am sitting in the library in Madrid putting the finishing touches on the manuscript of my first book which will be published shortly. It’s scary for a variety of reasons, but I’ve never been happier. All of the wonderful things you speak about regarding seeing yourself with new eyes, in this stage of life, parallels my journey right now. I am grateful to have your post today to remind me of how I’m finally doing it my way. I like how you made me feel about myself today. You know, like me!

    Best regards,

    Sam

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Natalie, loved, loved loved this . It is amazing how fearless we become at this age. Instead of art I reimagine myself in my poetry. Life has hit me in the gut and forced me to change my thinking and I could rather roll over and die, or I could focus on life and living it in a different way. Your piece today encapsulates my future journey and how I continue to see myself! Thank you for sharing your gift of words. ❤️❤️💃💃🌷🌷

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judith, I love these words of encouragement! Thank you for bringing joy to my day❤ It means so much to know you relate to what I posted. Fearlessness in midlife is amazing! I’m inspired by your use of poetry to live your life differently in the face of adversity. Brava! Many thanks and hugs to you❤

      Like

      • This is your space to shine and shine you do, but I offer you a very sincere thank you. 😊 My writing/blogging journey has empowered me in many ways, not the least of which is connecting with inspiring humans, like you. 🌟

        Liked by 1 person

  8. You are truly beautiful. Your confidence and smile are some of your best outfits. Your posts just radiate with joy. I also like the idea of seeing oneself as a work of art, and I believe we can rewrite our stories. Keeping painting yours, and inspiring us! And oh, stunning artwork, btw. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much!❤ Such kind compliments. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to be open to seeing and feeling the joy that’s around us. That’s how I had to start with my painting and rewrite. I appreciate your support as I keep on painting!😊❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow, what an inspiring read. I love how you describe the charcoal painting – the you then and the you now. You look so gorgeous and so radiant.
    I’m definitely going to work on my masterpiece. ❤️

    PS: here from Libby’s post. Loved reading your story and journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a beautiful post and message Natalie (Also, I cannot believe you’re 61! – You look so good!) Life is a black canvas that we are meant to paint meaning onto. Such a lovely idea. I also like the idea that a canvas can always be painted over – be added to, refined, worked on… It never stops. The more we add, the more beautiful it becomes. Wishing you well Natalie 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You had me at, “Even in black-and-white, where the shadows celebrate the lines in my 61-year-old skin.” I love that line! That’s how I feel about my whole being these days. I’m droopy here and scraped up a bit there…but I’ve earned every wrinkle, gray hair and frown line. To me these are the etchings on whatever art piece I am today…what I’ve survived and seen and experienced. The light in my eyes are the joy and anticipation of what’s to come. I love the idea of our body’s as canvas. I know they’re supposed to be our temples as well. How do you feel about that? Can one’s body be both a temple and an ever-changing canvas? BTW, I’m kind of new to your blog. Glad I’m here. Can’t wait to read more. Mona

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oooh, Mona, I love how you think! Hell yes we are temples, and also changing works of art. I love this, too: “…these are the etchings on whatever art piece I am today…” 💜 I am thrilled we connected. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!
      (BTW, I raised a child with ADHD and dyslexia, so I was drawn to your post)

      Liked by 1 person

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