Validation is good for you

Validation - watercolour and pencil drawing of Charlie ©2016 Kendrea Rhodes
Validation – watercolour and pencil drawing of Charlie ©2016 Kendrea Rhodes

Don’t worry about what others think, carry on regardless, be true to yourself – cliche basket empty (for now).  An artist is hit with these relentlessly, and sometimes it’s all you’ve got to cling to as you watch another screwed up ball of paper fly through the air towards the bin – a bittersweet score.  But every now and then, someone comes along, someone neutral, someone unknown – they find something in your work and they tell you about it – they validate your efforts and it feels good. This isn’t your spouse, your family or best friend, this is someone who’s first connection to you is through your art.

Up until today, my mantra has been to carry on regardless because it’s important to me.  So I keep researching, painting and writing, but after recently sharing a short story version of my grandfather’s life with people, known and unknown, I think this mantra may change because this story is important to others too.

My grandfather’s validation, for surviving a rotten childhood, was us – his family. We were the proof that the decisions he made were worthwhile and good. I’ve been researching his story for a number of years now, it’s important, but not urgent, so often gets put on the back burner. Sometimes you wonder when it will be done, when will that timer ring, but it just keeps bubbling away in the background.

Yes it’s a sad story, but its glad as well. No big plot twists or over arching theme, just words depicting my grandfather’s life. These words touched someone and that person left heartfelt feedback. This someone was a carer of abandoned children, many years ago and she always wondered if the children she looked after had any hope. Apparently my grandfather’s story showed her there was hope, her work may not have been fruitless. And neither was mine. This person took a few minutes to write a paragraph of thanks, and those few minutes validated my years of work.

Thank you Mrs M.

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For more information on my grandfather’s story, please click here to visit Forgotten Australians.

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