The Ugly Stage

unfinished, paintingAn art instructor gave advice on the painting I was working on. Personally, I thought it was beyond redemption and was tempted to give up. I could blame it on my lack of ability, the materials, or the environment but that wouldn’t change the ugly picture in front of me.

Since it couldn’t get much worse, I decided to implement the tips I’d been given and carry on. The painting evolved and a tentative hope was born. When the final brushstrokes were made, I stepped back and looked at a work I didn’t think was possible. I was proud of what I’d accomplished.finished work

Something the instructor told me echoed in my mind. “Every painting goes through an ugly stage. Keep going and don’t give up because you’re not finished yet.”

We are in an ugly stage of life right now. The global pandemic has us in a holding pattern and I, for one, am getting impatient to move on. It feels like we’ve been stuck here forever.

Even in this, I have options. One is to give up hope the situation will improve. When despair takes hold my thoughts turn to what might have been, rather than my current reality. I focus on what I’m missing and not what I have. During these times I’m tempted to blame everything around me for my negative attitude.

The truth is, this picture is not finished yet. My better choice is to keep a positive outlook. Today’s decisions will impact my future so I need to be intentional with the brush strokes I make on this canvas of life. The picture is still evolving and I have hope for the outcome.

The ugly stage won’t last forever. When it’s finished, I want to be able to look back with pride at the picture that’s been created.

2 thoughts on “The Ugly Stage”

  1. Your teacher is wise Tandy.

    It is true in so many aspects of life. When I used to run marathon, it didn’t matter how far I was running in my training — at about the 20 minute mark I always wanted to quit. Every hurt, every tight muscle, ever ‘bad’ attitude made me want to give up.
    I can’t think of one painting I’ve created that doesn’t have someplace where I thought, “Who am I kidding? I can’t paint.” Or article I’ve written where I haven’t hit a place that didn’t say, “this is just not working. Stop now.”
    It’s the moving through it, the acknowledging and embracing those ‘difficult’ spaces that create the path forward.
    And a great analogy for the virus — thanks for that!

    1. Your comments are appreciated, Louise. The ugly stage applies to so many things in life. The beginning of a new project is exciting, the end is satisfying but the middle is often another story!

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