Basic Playground Rules

Praying HandsThis post is in two parts, sorta.  It’s about two different areas that somehow connect.  It probably would be better if I did two separate posts.  But I’m impatient, so I squished them both together.  Don’t worry though – because on a still moonless night, with the light turned off, if you squint after a few drinky-poos, you will probably see how they fit together – perfectly.

So – Topic Number One.

I love what I do.   Seriously.  Like really love it – except for the days that I really hate it.   But usually I love it; despite what it has done to my once fragile, angel-like hands. When I look down at my now-gorilla fingers, I flashback to being eight again.  Sat listening to my  R.E  teacher’s monotone voice reading the story about The Praying Hands.  It would be a fair assessment to say that the story is probably the only thing that I remember from that class.  Strange. But, for whatever reason, the story grabbed my attention and stayed with me.  Perhaps it was the moral story behind it: Sacrifice for the greater good?  Maybe it was the honorable doings of the brother and the price he ultimately paid. But more likely, it was the fact that the R.E. teacher had really old hands.  Living in a world of comparisons   ‘Eh, Miss, bet you don’t ‘alf wish you had his hands’. I was eight years old, I had no idea what a prime example of  ‘Foreshadowing’ looked or felt like.  Sigh.

witch fingersSo the reality of my life is that  I will never be a hand model.  It’s a cruel harsh world, but I willingly accept the consequences of my actions. It is, in my opinion, a small price to pay.  To be able to do something that brings you such satisfaction, is – in itself, priceless. Plus, my gnarly hands are still able to latch onto a wine glass. So things are looking bright, for now.  It’s the small things.

(this photo is of ‘finger’ food that I found on the internet.  Do not even think to invite me to your party, if you serve food like this.  Seriously, I won’t come.  Or I’ll come, but I will be totally miserable.  And you don’t want me to be miserable at your party, when I’m drinking).  Trust me on this one.

Regardless, of the bashing that my hands have taken I’m glad I choose this journey.  As I’ve said before: the demand for PMS (Pre-Menopausal Starlets) is slim (and as far as I know, Slim just left town).  So painting is a good option for me to pursue.  I shall find stardom another way.

clapboardMy past work experience (the one that really counts, I guess) is of being a clinical social worker for a non-profit agency.  It was a GREAT job.  Because most of my colleagues were fellow social workers, it had a very supportive vibe to it.  It was women supporting women, in its purest form.

So, that is the environment that I know, and feel most comfortable with.  My roots have grown and melded round the truth that women should support women.  I love being part of that sisterhood.  It’s something that I want to really encourage, especially as a mom.   Be true, be authentic, be supportive. women supporting womenGood breeds good – yada yada. I know some people think competition is a great motivator in the workforce, and I guess it is – to a point.  But once it passes that fine point, it becomes destructive.  It invades your psyche, it changes your energy, and it alters your worldview on people and their motives.

 I’m seeing more and more posts on Facebook about women in business and while, for the most part, it’s encouraging – there is that faint element of Queen Bee-ism.  Meaning, while some women are incredibly supportive of each other, there’s the few that don’t want to support their counterparts out of fear of …what?  I don’t know.  Competition?  Sharing the spotlight?

It’s a cray-cray world, folks.

In terms of the painting world, I’m a newbie. I’m green, and unseasoned.  I stumbled upon this stuff.  But I constantly remind myself that it’s not brain surgery.  It’s paint.  Just that. Anyone can do it.   ANYONE.  I don’t have sponsorship on my blog, and I’m not a stockist. I have no financial allegiance to any company.  I have the freedom to use what I like.   (If things ever change in that direction, I have promised myself that I will always be authentic.  Period).  The downside of being an ‘independent’ painter, is that I don’t get invited to conferences or in-house training.  I basically have to figure it out myself, like most regular people.  What is the challenge, is networking – trying to get my name/my brand/my style out there.

hello my name isBut I try, and surprisingly numerous other people agree.  Why, many a time, I have been called ‘trying‘.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in a corner stomping my feet because I’m not invited to the party.  I’ve been really really lucky.  I’ve come in contact with some incredibly awesome – and I mean AWESOME women painters.  You know the type, just painters who like women and more importantly, don’t see women as a competitive force to be reckoned with.  Just chicks showing support to other chicks.  No pay off, no hidden agenda.

Just women strengthening the bond between women.

But it would be remiss of me to say that all of my experiences have been positive.  I’ve had instances where I’ve expected support, and it hasn’t been shown.  At all.  It’s hard not to take it personally.  I’m a big girl who wears big girls panties – But you know, I still don’t ‘get’ that mentality.

If I had to use an analogy it would be playing in the playground.  There are certain ‘unspoken’ rules: Play fair, Be Nice, Take Turns.  swings

Picture a swing set: everyone should get a chance to be on the swing, and everyone should take turns in pushing the swing.   Sure, it might seem that the girl on the swing is having the most fun, it’s less work. It’s just fun.  But, let’s not overlook that kid pushing the swing.  She really holds the power; she is the one using her strength to make another person soar higher and higher.  Her efforts are allowing another person to feel the thrill: to go as far as she possibly can.  And, while she allows her friend to seek new heights, she also knows that -in time- her friend (if she is a true friend) – will eventually come back to land and they will happily switch positions.

Now – back to the big girl world.  If you don’t want to push the swing for others, that’s fine. That’s your preogertive. But, do yourself and everyone else a favor.  Get out of the line.  Let others play, there’s always other people who want to push.  There will always be others eagerly waiting in  line.  Always.

*On a side note, when I was really small we lived in a back-to-back house with an outside toilet (it smelled of whitewash, damp, and toilet cleaner).

These people most have been 'posh' - they have a rug.
These people most have been ‘posh’ – they have a rug.

Sometimes, we would climb on top of the roof  (ours was flat) and sit on the side.  Just hanging out – above the loo, as you do.  One day my older sister and I had climbed up, with another little boy.  He said that he wondered what it would be like to jump off the outhouse.  But he was too scared, he didn’t want to…

So I pushed him off.


He fractured his arm.

I prefer to think that  because of my actions, he felt what it was like to fly for a few seconds.  I caused him to SOAR!  You’re welcome, little boy with the fractured arm who’s name I can’t remember.

So, if ever you’re in the position that you need someone to motivate or push you; or you’re just having one of those days when you need a little encouragement to soar.

Call me,

I’m your gal.

{insert catchy ending phrase here}

Diane aka The Paint Factory



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