“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.” ~Pablo Picasso
This article is about the day I realized Picasso wasn’t born Picasso.
If you’re already opening Google to find what his name was at birth, I’ll save you the typing and tell you here…
He was born Pablo Ruiz Picasso. (His baptized name is wayyyy longer, but you get the point.)
Okay, so he was always a Picasso.
But he wasn’t always the Picasso.
Let me explain by rewinding a few years back…
I was in Spain for one of my best friend’s weddings, and I decided to spend an extra couple of weeks exploring the country.
Of course, exploring the narrow winding streets and cultural history of Barcelona was high on my priority list (as well as eating endless tapas and indulging in delicious goblets of the most refreshing gin drinks to ever hit my lips haha).
So many of the Great Creatives originated from Spain or left their mark in this beautifully complex country in one way or another.
Put simply, I was in Heaven.
I still remember the day I stepped foot in the Picasso Museum. With much anticipation I made my way up the stairs, one step at a time, until I was finally beginning my stroll down Picasso Memory Lane.
Let me tell you… It was NOT what I was expecting.
Confusion hit me first.
“Wait, what? THIS is Picasso? Am I in the wrong place? Am I supposed to think these are incredible works of art?”
Along with confusion, I was questioning my previous knowledge and what I thought I knew of this famous artist.
I’m no art buff, but I’d like to think I know a thing or two about a thing or two.
I weaved in and out of many more rooms, continuing to feel confused, kind of let down, and like there might be something wrong with me and my memory.
I walked into the next room, almost feeling bored but trying to put on a super interested face by slightly tilting my head and nodding slowly as I took everything in.
There it was.
The classic Picasso style we all know. The famous cube-like strokes and surrealistic images he was known for.
I remember standing there in complete awe. It was a jaw-dropping moment for me, but it wasn’t because of the famous art I was staring at.
It was because of all the not-so-famous art I had wandered past to get here.
That’s when it hit me.
PICASSO wasn’t born Picasso.
He didn’t come out of the womb a world-famous painter, forging the way into a new era of art. He worked for it. Every. Single. Day.
He was dedicated to his art.
He was dedicated to the process, to the doing, to the journey of becoming the artist we all know today.
In that instant, my perspective on the previous rooms and walls of art suddenly changed. I now saw those previous works of art as badges of honor. Of hours upon hours of self-exploration… Learning new techniques, putting images to thoughts, feelings, experiences, and words.
Those paintings were a testament to his will and dedication not only to his art, but to himself.
He didn’t give up just because he wasn’t acknowledged or celebrated right away.
In fact, there were almost as many years of his work not being put on a pedestal as there were of his glory years.
As a self-proclaimed perfectionist who has been afraid of “getting it wrong” or not being “good enough,” I’m letting go of the need to get it right.
Yup, I’m doing it right now as I type. Eeks!
This is a pivotal moment for me.
I’ve realized I’ll never have the opportunity to “get it right” if I’m not willing to be okay with “getting it wrong.”
And let’s be honest, the whole concept of “getting it right” is something that we all need to throw out the door ASAP.
Let the “getting it wrong” begin and cheers to all of the ugly badges of honor I’ll create along the way.
I’m realizing more than ever that like art, the exploration of self and quite simply, just living our lives, should be focused on what fuels our souls, what makes our heart sing, what makes us feel good, what makes us glow from the inside out—not how we’ll be received.
Focusing on what feels good and true for us should be our number one priority.
Of course, life comes with challenges, and there will always be tough times we need to wade through, but just imagine how much easier it would be to move through these times if we stayed committed to doing what brings us joy while we figure out the rest?
This is what I think Picasso did.
No matter what he was experiencing, he took paint to brush and brush to paper. It was his exploration, his self-expression, his therapy.
He was the painter of his life, and he never stopped painting.
I’m moving forward with a re-ignited, deepened knowing that while I may not be a painter, I am still the painter or rather, the creator, of my life.
I get to paint the next picture, and there’s something very liberating and exciting about this.
So, my question to you is simple….
What’s the next picture you want to paint? And what would you try if you stopped worrying about doing your best work and simply followed your heart