Written and Illustrated by Sharon Hooper – @Serious.Sharon
After capturing the likeness of my partner, using cheap pastels (on a piece of paper which I…borrowed…from work), I realised that I had an ability that I’d simply long forgotten about.
“I was more than a petty thief.”
You see, at ten years old I could accurately draw my own hands – and did so, at almost every opportunity. But my teacher at the time, used his hands to point out small inaccuracies in background features of my pictures, not just to me – but to anyone who would comment on my drawings.
And so I learned how to overlook my strengths at an early age.
“I stole this idea from someone else.”
It was that same year when I was ten, that my father made a point of telling me that I would never be beautiful. And even though I’d heard, countless times, that “hands are the hardest part of the of the body to draw”, I dismissed this saying as having no relevance to my own skills.
Eventually, I forgot that I could draw hands.
From there, I went on to fail art class after one term at high school, because I was unable to paint my own face.
At thirteen, I suppose I wished to look like Mary J Blige and found myself completely unable to put brush to paper (which is the outward behaviour of a person who is not artistic at all).
I never chose art class ever again.
“I stole the idea to use paint pens from a friend.”
After finishing high school, I couldn’t even look at my reflection in the mirror.
I told no-one of what I was going through.
In fact, this is the first time I’ve ever mentioned it.
At this same age, I erased a pencil sketch of Jim Morrisson as it had captured him perfectly, and I wasn’t certain if I was capable of such an accomplishment.
“Deep down, I always knew what I was capable of.”
After finally attending to my self-esteem issues, eighteen years later (just as my wrinkles were appearing), I realised:
“the worst thing an artist can do is underestimate themselves”.
“I came up with this idea on my own”.
Once I accepted myself as an artist and acknowledged the fact that I’d been underestimating myself, I began looking at my reflection again.
But compliments were still impossible to take, and I felt comfortable spending most of my time with people who acted like I had a long way to go.
“It’s all too easy to see your flaws.”
Slowly however, I learned to overlook other people’s desire for me to overlook my strengths. I’m not sure what their problem is. Or maybe I am sure, but I simply don’t have the capacity to prove myself to them.
I’ve got myself to impress.
Which is difficult because I’m an artist.
“Artists are always aiming to improve.”
About The Artist
“I’ve experienced trauma and overcome complicated obstacles.
I have no-one from my so called childhood who understands me, and most of them would like to see me fail.
I never really knew what was wrong with them.
And it scared me when I realised I also didn’t know what was wrong with me.
I got out and got help.
It’s been a volatile journey, and I had everything to learn about mental health – but I am so grateful that this was my path.
I truly love life.”