Yes. This is what my 10th grade art teacher asked me when I turned in one of my projects. No words of encouragement. No constructive criticism mixed with kindness. None. Nothing but wide eyes, a toothy grin, and a sarcastic question. What. Happened.
Now, some people could have laughed this off. Brushed it aside. But if you’ve been following this blog, you know that I am not some. I am a sensitive reactor who shuts down when embarrassed. And the fact that I dreamed of being an animator only made this teacher’s question sting a million times worse.
I wish I could tell you I bounced back. That I Milles Teller-ed (Whiplash, anyone?) my way back up the art ladder, but I didn’t. Instead, I let it defeat me.
Those words bit hard and wormed their way into my already insecure mind. And while I could spend paragraphs blaming this woman for discouraging my art venture, I know that I can’t.
Instead, I look at that moment as a period of time my attention swung towards the possibility of another creative art form. Writing.
Yes, in my writing career I’ve received tough criticism mixed with the accolades. But my flame has never extinguished, no matter who’s thrown what at me. Which tells me, I’m in this craft 100%. It’s the art that chose me and will never let me go.
In an odd way, I have this teacher to thank. Without her painful question, I might not have discovered my passion for the written word. In other words? Next time you hear something that rattles you–look at it as an opportunity to make you better or seek another talent. It may end up being the best thing you’ve ever heard.