I recently got back to drawing, my first love. Before the words came, there were the images. Cute anime style images, to be exact. I loved drawing. Enough to take up a four-year course to be good enough in it and make a career out of it. Only that, in those four years, instead of honing my skills, I found that I may not actually be good enough to thrive as an illustrator or designer. 

Sure, I passed the course. Even got a B+ on my design thesis. But I never got the confidence to pursue the original dream: to speak in color. It wasn’t a total waste, though, as I developed a way with words. Soon, I found myself a couple of jobs as a wordsmith, and it was the beginning of a new dream. 

Still, when I find old sketchbooks and merchandise designs I made, I couldn’t help but miss the drawing process. What if I didn’t let my lack of confidence hold me down?

People around me had been very supportive of my drawing jobs, as well as my writing engagements. My mom, who’s a talented portrait artist, always encouraged me to learn more about the craft and explore different styles. But feelings of inadequacy got the better of me, and I stopped drawing for years. I only volunteer to do it when people specifically asked for chibi. If not, then my sketchbook will be left to just gather dust. 

I guess I can say the same about my vocal chords. While singing was never really a passion, I do have the chops. I did join choirs and even won a contest years back, and occasionally, I’d catch myself randomly jamming with others, who end up inviting me for choir practice and carolling. I never went to any of them.

As much as I’d like to believe I have what it takes, I mostly don’t. When I do, the confidence quickly fizzles out, and the sketchbook and the vocal chords will start gathering dust once again, until I remember that I still have them.

It wasn’t always this way. Back when I was in kindergarten, a silent but firm voice told me that I was cut out for whatever comes my way. Before I got into the kids’ choir, I told myself that I should audition because I can sing just as well as the other kids. And I used to beam with pride as I show my compilation of drawings during art classes. 

Oh the things I’d give to have the confidence of my younger self back again. What held that silent voice back? Me being stuck in the “I’m not good enough” mentality. The voices I listened to drowned out my own, and the gifts I have always had were left to sit around and gather dust, instead of getting polished. 

It wasn’t always like this. And I am working hard to make sure it won’t always be like this. The silent voice may have been held back for so long, but it was never gone. I figure that I just need to listen to it more, so it will never be drowned out. 

As I go through a journey of healing and embark on the process of realizing many new endeavors, I look forward to empowering that voice within, and not letting even my own thoughts hold it back. As I rediscover many forgotten passions, I pray for the courage to pursue them and use them for the glory of He who bestowed them upon me.

Holding back no more and looking forward to new journeys. 

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