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  • Ali

Feeling Worthy...

My childhood was challenging, more particularly - school was challenging... so challenging, that I believed that I wasn't good enough. I wasn't good enough to raise my hand in class to answer the teacher's questions — for fear that I would get it wrong. I wasn't good enough to try out for a sports team, because I didn't think I was fast enough. I wasn't good enough to join any clubs because I wasn't "cool" enough. The one thing that got me through these hard times was creating art. I knew that deep down in my bones, that this was something to be proud of. This was where I shined and yet I kept it to myself for fear of rejection - again, not being talented enough.

After years of self training, my parents encouraged me to apply to an art high school where I finally started to feel good enough. I was then accepted into the school of my dreams in the city of my dreams and yet while I was there, I again - started to feel like I wasn't good enough. I was accepted into one of the best schools in my field, and yet again - I wasn't good enough. Then I was asked to work as a shoe designer for Steve Madden, one of the hottest shoe lines in the world, and yet again - I wasn't good enough. What the heck is that???

More years had gone by and I was burnt the F*** out. So I stepped away from the one thing that actually made me feel good and that was creating art. I just needed a break and life happened. I got married and had two kids and dealt with a ton of family drama….

Then about 8 years ago I got the itch to pick up a paintbrush again. I flirted with different ideas here and there and finally while in Italy with my husband to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary, I was inspired! As soon as I got home I painted, painted and painted some more. I started to post pictures of my work on social media and suddenly I was getting great feedback. People started approaching me to purchase my work and even do custom pieces. What? People actually liked my work enough to buy it? HOLY CRAP!… I was starting to feel worthy... for the first time in my life! I was older, more mature, more confident and I grabbed onto that feeling and went with it.

I remember someone said years ago that once you hit your 40's you start to gain true confidence and although I am still pretty darn hard on myself, I realized that no one else could make my dreams happen but me.... So after working as a billing manager at a law firm for 10 plus years, I quit, landed a job as an elementary art teacher and decided to enroll in college to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Education. I realized that in order to work on my confidence, I needed to push some boundaries. Now 2.5 years later, I have that degree and absolutely love creating art with students.

But.... I still have my moments. Those moments of still not feeling worthy. Every picture I post on social media is a battle with myself... I am constantly going back and forth thinking, will people like this? What if they don't — but more importantly, what if they DO!?!? So I post and I always end up getting great feedback. I have to keep reminding myself that even if it's not liked, so what? I am pursuing my dream and sharing my love for it, and maybe - just maybe I can push someone else who is in my shoes to reach for those stars.

The feeling of finally, little by little, feeling worthy is truly exhilarating and I am just so thankful for finding the courage every day to continue to pursue these dreams. So thank you for reading this and staying along for the ride, and if you're having similar feelings of not feeling worthy, close your eyes, say F*** IT 5 times and just get to it - cause life is so short. Do something that makes you inspired and most importantly, take that chance. Little by little those little chances will add up and you will end up where you should be.

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