Years ago, in what now feels like an entirely separate life, I was a dance instructor for a few years. Though I taught classes in both tap and jazz dancing, my favorite of all was tap dancing. It was incredibly fun, and while I don’t think I was ever quite to the level of Fred Astaire or Danny Kaye, I was pretty good and learned quite a few fun tricks. For my younger readers wondering who the heck those guys are, feel free to pause here and google them. Trust me, they were awesome! What strikes me as funny is that I didn’t so much dream of wanting to be a dancer as much as simply exploring a dream of wanting to trying dancing. This was during a time when I was very interested in pursuing musical theatre and I hoped that having a bit of dancing skills would help me in that path. I could sing rather well and act somewhat believably, but the ability to dance made me much more competitive. In that world, having this third skill is what’s known as a “triple threat.” In reality, to truly earn this title you had to be able to act, sing, and dance with equal aplomb. In my case, each talent was a bit touch and go. I realize now that I fell into the “jack of all trades, master of none” category which, in the the end, is a threat to nobody at all. But, I had a fabulous time in the process!
Mine is a story of a kid who never really quite knew what he wanted to be when he grew up. It’s a story of trying, failing, and trying again to do something of interest in this crazy world. Back then, I just wanted to make a mark of some kind. I actually liked having my name appear in the newspapers as it made me visible in some small way. Fame actually terrified me for all that comes with it, but I was happy that I’d managed to make a little spark in the world. I have to admit now that I really didn’t make any sort of global impact, but at the time, there were many people who were happy to see my name appear in the credits of their program. It was probably just a hundred or less, but that, to me, was amazing! The very idea that all of those people thought what I was doing was something worth showing up for made me so happy. I made them feel something and they returned the favor by making me feel something as well. I felt proud. And, I know that pride can come with many pitfalls, but I was just genuinely thrilled that this tiny crowd of people were moved in some way by what I’d created.
Fast forward to today, and little has changed. I still perform each and every day by posting and writing about whatever comes to mind. It’s not in a theatre and no tickets are required to purchase, but it’s very much the same. And, I’ve converted some of my favorite posts into a podcast called Sketching Stuff. And my latest episode entitled “Sketching Food” just launched, so please check it out when you can and leave me your comments! Instead of reading lines that other people wrote, today, I read my own. They may be a bit rambling at times, but sometimes, they just might shine with a bit of truth. It’s quite a feat to figure out what you actually want to be when you grow up. I’m so impressed with people who seem so focused and have found their true calling. My journey has instead been a bit more circuitous. I’m still that little kid who sees a fun path and chases down it giggling like a maniac. This is certainly not an adult-like behavior, to be sure, and that’s why I adore the paths I choose! I continually make my life needlessly complex by stacking more dreams onto it than one life can possibly bear. But, that’s where I get all of my joy. I juggle each thing as best I can, skipping to the next just in time for the following beat in the dance. After all of this time, I realize that I’ve not changed one bit from those tap dancing days.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio! Click Here To Purchase It!). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black 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!