Dear Late Bloomer…..

I’m a late bloomer. For the first time since I was a little kid, my hair is long enough for a ponytail. And it’s even a longer ponytail than I’ve ever had. My hair is the longest it’s ever been, which is really exciting. I never used to understand why some women cried when they got their long hair cut….then my hair grew longer and I now have recurring dreams nightmares of getting a haircut. Everytime I dream this, I wake up in relief that it wasn’t real. My hair is also long enough to braid. Which leaves just one problem–I never learned how to braid hair….until last week. As I said, I’m a late bloomer. How late? Without giving away my age, I’ll just say this; I still remember where I was when The Challenger space shuttle exploded. 

I’m at a neat stage of my life, being a late-blooming adult. I have gotten into activities that as a kid were difficult for me. Mostly creative endeavors, such as drawing and painting. As a kid sitting in art class, I felt so inadequate. Anything I created turned into something unrecognizable compared to the other kids’. Of course that’s part of being a kid, but at the time, I felt like I wasn’t good enough. After awhile I resigned myself to thinking that artistic talent wasn’t going to be my thing. Then I entered High School.

In my Freshman year of High School, one of the courses that I had to take was environmental science. The last project of the semester was the creation of an ABC book about what we had learned that semester. The only catch was we wouldn’t get our books back till last semester of Senior year (they’d be used to practice walking with and holding a diploma during graduation walk through). Now I was nervous to get this assignment because of my history with less than stellar artwork. Yes, earlier that year in Bible class I had papier mache’d John the Baptist’s head on a silver platter, complete with doily, but it came out kinda creepy looking, with awful shag carpet samples for hair. Later on, my attempt at The Tower of Babel out of sugar cubes fared a bit better, but my teacher did say the tiny people on it weren’t up to scale.  So you can understand my reluctance to try to create a whole book of subpar art.

I decided my approach this time would be to draw an animal for each letter. Instead of drawing it directly onto the page, I’d draw it on construction paper or scraps of origami sheets, then cut it out. I have to admit, I really had fun with this one. I’m sure I procrastinated on it though because I do remember finishing up on the day it was due during a two-hour fog delay. But while creating this book, something funny began to happen. Each animal I created, I actually could ‘see‘ before I cut it out. Yes, I actually saw part of the outline on the paper before I began drawing. This had never happened to me before in all my years in school art classes.

I put in about 24 hours of work on this one book. After I turned it in, I was SO proud of myself. After I graduated High School, I put my focus on things other than art. I really didn’t get into art again until after I graduated college. It was when I was living in a large southern city that the art bug again bit me. I even entered a local art show where I won first place in one of the categories.

So, if you are frustrated at not being able to do something your friends can do, don’t fret a bit. Look for what you are good at and focus on that. I’m sure those other things will come in time. Just be patient. Oh, and that book I made in High School? I got an A. 😉

I hope you found this post encouraging, especially if you are a fellow late bloomer.

Remember you are not alone!

Cheers! 🙂

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*Late Bloomer quote appears courtesy of http://www.quotessays.com/gallery/late-bloomer-quotes-4.jpg.html

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