A guest post by Lesley DeSantis of When Guinea Pigs Fly.
Light bulb moments happen in the oddest places. My most recent was while I was not-so-patiently waiting for a bathroom to be unlocked.
The other night, I was sitting in the hallway of the Boston SOWA artist studios waiting for a photographer stuck in traffic to arrive for my second ever little venture into modeling. Kind of a far cry from drawing guinea pigs in hats but, hey, if you want to try something, go for it, right??
As I sat there anxiously on the floor, breathing in the delicious faint aroma of oil paints and turpentine wafting from the artists creating behind their closed doors up and down the hall, I realized that nature was calling.
But the bathroom doors were locked.
Every little while, I’d see a paint-covered person come walking up the hall with keys jingling, watch them enter and exit the bathroom, and then lock themselves back in their studios. A normal person would probably just be like “hey, can I use your keys and get into the bathroom?” but I felt kind of awkward, so I continued to sit there. And usually with dear Mother Nature, if you ignore her, she doesn’t go away.
Once the photographer arrived, I asked him if I could use the bathroom and he said “Oh sure! It’s right there around the corner” and I said “yeah! I saw them there…but, do you have a key? I turned the knob and it was locked.” and he said, “oh… yeah it’s not locked. You just have to push really hard.”
Lo and behold, I pushed on the door, and I was in. *facepalm*
And there was the lightbulb.
All I had to do was push.
So many times, we want to do something, and on our first try, or even our next few tries, we feel like we’re locked out and we give up. We neglect to ask for help because we feel foolish or just want to do it ourselves, and we tell ourselves that it must not have been that important anyway or that we can just “hold it” and wait until a time when it’s more convenient.
But in reality, all we ever needed to do was just give a little extra push. And sometimes it takes someone who’s been there and knows better to help us get in. I know it’s a little far-fetched to compare a locked loo with our creative futures, but I realized that if I hadn’t talked myself out of my insecurities and given a push to try modeling, I never would have had the fun experience of doing that photoshoot.
If I hadn’t told myself to stop obsessing about learning enough or feeling ready enough and to just ‘go for it’ and open a shop on Etsy, I never would have known that people all over the world would actually want to buy my artwork. If I had let those nagging voices in my head (or from others) talk me out of leaving a more traditional corporate job to follow a more creative path, I never would have had all the knowledge and experiences that continue to push me forward to a more self-sufficient future in entrepreneurship. If I hadn’t sought an extra push from SCORE counseling, I wouldn’t be gearing up to start my own company.
So I suppose my point here is to not accept things for how they seem when you feel like you’re roadblocked. It’s hard to do everything yourself, even though as creators we really like the control and freedom of being a one-man show. Turning the knob on a closed door that seems locked might not get you in, but you never know what doors might open to you with a little extra push.
And, boy, is it empowering when it works.
Lesley DeSantis is an artist, musical theatre composer/music director, freelance Internet marketing copywriter, and all-around artsy techy geek living in the Boston area. When not drawing guinea pigs or writing new music, you can find her with her husband, guinea pigs, and pseudo-Siamese cat Clover relaxing at home or taking trips to her hometown of Rockport, MA. Say “hi!” to Lesley on twitter!