Be Proud Of Your Work

I took some time today to re-paint my shields. I needed to replace the edging anyway, so I decided to touch up some of the scrapes and dings while I was at it. The summer event season is starting up, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt for my kit to be in good repair.

I don’t paint much, and luckily my device is relatively simple and geometric. But as I crouched in the back “yard” (it’s mostly gravel and concrete) I had plenty of time to think. After all, it doesn’t take much brainpower to fill in big sections with a single color, especially when you’ve taped off the borders. And as I worked, my thoughts turned to darker paths.

I started thinking about how I don’t paint much. How my skills are really rudimentary, especially compared to some of my friends. Artist friends. Friends who paint for a living. People that would put me to shame using only their off-hand pinky finger. I mean, I was just slathering paint around on with no finesse, using a cheap brush that never seemed to get fully clean. Was I just wasting my time? Was I going to embarrass myself with the crap I produced?

These thoughts bounced around my head for a few minutes, even as I continued to paint. But then I realized something. I realized that in the end, these were my shields. My equipment. As such, they should be a reflection of my work and my capabilities. Who cares if it isn’t “good?” It’s more important to me that I can look at something and say “See that? I made it myself.” That I can take pride in my craftsmanship. That I have something that is mine, that is wholly unique to me and my own experience.

Sure, you may think I may be putting too much thought into a piece of sports equipment whose sole purpose is to get hit so that I don’t. But I’ve often said that everyone hates their own work, so this epiphany was quite shocking to me. Usually I look at what I’ve done (written, drawn, built, etc.) and can’t help but see all the little mistakes, the places I could have spent a bit more time, the shortcuts and compromises. Assuming I take the time to look back at it at all.

If the only takeaway from this article is “I had a dark thought, but managed to say ‘Screw that noise,’” then I guess that’s enough. But I hope that any of you that might have similar issues of taking pride in your own work can take some solace as well. Whatever you manage to create is unique only to you, in ways you may not be able to see. And that’s awesome.