There was once a time while traveling that I would wear sneakers on the plane and pack an extra pair of dressier shoes. These days, I don’t bother and instead just choose the most comfortable pair of shoes from the start and stick with those the entire trip. In truth, as I get older, my life has rapidly morphed into a fashion-free sort of proposition. I used to be much more in the “dress to impress” camp and actually tried to keep up with the latest styles. Then, I forgot who I was actually trying to impress in the first place and simply gave up. A little less than a decade ago, I even wore skinny jeans, which is a style that can only be worn by those very skinny without looking like a cupcake pop. I was actually very skinny at the time, but after seeing one photo taken of me in New York where, to my eye, I seemed to have acquired the shape of Dr. Seuss character, I decided never to wear them again after that. Today, I tried on a pair of regular fitting jeans at Target that actually made it look like I have a butt, so that was my fashion triumph for the year. Whether its shoes, clothes, or anything at all really in life. It’s always best to be comfortable.
The shoes pictured here today, are indeed in my typical style, but I changed the color, as I’m prone to do to something I would like to have. Was thinking something a bit Seafoam Green would be a nice addition to my collection, and it was also a good excuse as any to change up my paint colors a bit. It’s funny now, looking back, that I used to be so concerned about what I was wearing. I worried that falling out of a fashion trend would make me seem, well old-fashioned, or simply old. As I actually got older, I realized it wasn’t so bad after all. Life feels much more settled and less chaotic now, and I’ve already learned the lesson of how futile it is to try and impress anyone else. I can’t, in the end, really make someone admire me. Sure, they might be impressed by my outfit and choice of style in the moment, but that’s all on the surface. To make a true connection, people have to know and like the real me. That ridiculous soul who stumbles into the bathroom each morning annoyed by the light, wishing he could just crawl back in bed for a few hours. The same soul who squints into the mirror as if the image there might suddenly become more attractive simply by the act of doing so.
The real me is totally full of flaws and bits of silliness. And after all of these years, I’ve learned one very important thing. I rather like the real me best. That guy who is so ridiculously earnest that he just wants to bring artists together for a bit of sharing, learning and fun. An act completely devoid of any real grand design or indeed any sort of well-thought planning. A guy who likes to tell stories about his life in hopes others might be inspired to tell theirs. It’s a joy to hear the stories of others as they’re the pieces of life that made us the awesome folks we grew into today. Fashion can repeat itself, but our personal stories stay forever exclusive and singular. No matter how much they may resemble and remind us of our own, each person’s story is steeped in nuances that make it entirely unique. And yet, a good story, can bring us closer together and connect us in a way that material things can’t hope to achieve. And as we set out on our own personal creative journeys, there’s so much to learn and experience. But nothing along the path should ever shake us from the core of who we are and the beautiful style we exhibit naturally. When it comes to art and life in general, it’s best to always wear comfortable shoes.
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham Watercolors: Yellow Ochre, Cobalt Teal, Quinacridone Violet, and Turquoise. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!