Behind the scenes of this post

So, today’s post was supposed to be about love and how wonderful it would be if we’d all just fall in love with the people who fall in love with us, and how even more wonderful it would be if we could manage to fall for the people who love us at the same time they’re falling for us…

And then I re-watched an interview with Debbie Millman in which she talks about success and how it looks different if you’re a Fortune 500 company, versus, say, an artist. And since I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what success means to me, I thought maybe I’d write a post where we all hash out what it means to “define success on your own terms…”

And then I remembered how weeks ago someone asked me here on the blog when it was that I officially considered myself an artist. Thinking about my answer temporarily unleashed some familiar, but wily, demons, and since I’m not the only creative plagued with self-doubt and a sometimes debilitating fear of rejection, I thought THAT’S what I should write about this week – the apprehension so many of us have about assuming a title that others may not think we deserve…

And then, on the morning I’d set aside to write this post, I got up with an image in my head. I sat down at my work table and started drawing, and then painting, and while that sounds very simple when I write it here, it wasn’t at all simple while I was doing it. There may or may not have been actual tears and a decision to write a post sometime in the future about why I am absolutely NOT an artist.

But I kept drawing and erasing (and drawing and erasing, and drawing and erasing, like some sort of crazed, malfunctioning, occasionally teary-eyed robot-woman) and then painting, and by the time I was done, so was the day.

So, now, this is my post…





It’s a nice Friday thought, right? Have a great weekend, everybody, and by all means, STAND OUT.


p.s. If you want me to write about any of the original post topics, feel free to weigh in.

p.p.s. Congratulations to June O’Reilly, who won the original ink doodle I promised to give someone in my last post.


  1. Mary (whoa) on August 22, 2014 at 5:22 am

    You are a creative person and a lovely one too. That is all that matters to me. I actually didn’t relate at all to your posts on love because I had never found it that one person. But, what I did not see was that it is all around us if we are open to it. My regret is that I did not see it before.

    Create what you feel in whatever medium works best to convey it. I think you did exactly that in this post. Sometimes we let what we think we are supposed to do cloud and unduly influence what we are meant to do. Just be you J, it is what I love best.The genuine J is sometimes a little messy, but always worth it.

    • j on August 22, 2014 at 11:05 am

      Aw, thank you, Mary!

      That was one of the big takeaways from my Year of Fearless Love. Love is everywhere; it is often just a matter of our choosing to see it… or be it.

  2. Karin on August 22, 2014 at 7:04 am

    Put some wheels on that girl and she’d be your typical derby girl 😉

    Success is actually a very heavy word.
    It’s supposed to be a happy one. “What makes your successful?” people inquire. Or maybe you are asking yourself this question. But it makes you think.
    Path A: You decide what makes your successful are the very things that also make you happy. Everything is going swimmingly, and while it’s not an easy path, you can’t really complain.
    Path B: You’re stuck. You’re nowhere. Everyone seems to be on a freeway, overpass somewhere beyond you. You feel success is where they are, so you aim for them.
    And if you don’t make it, then game over. 🙁
    Path C: Re-evaluation time. It’s like Path B, but with a happier ending. You aim for those in front of you and somehow find yourself further than you ever imagined. Hooray for goals!

    Of course, there’s probably infinite paths to success/happiness/life. Most people define success with money, others with recognition and achievement. It’s really more of the latter than the former. Just depends where your priorities are.

    Standing out, of course, it’s just another way of achieving that recognition 🙂

    • j on August 22, 2014 at 11:04 am

      I think it’s hard to define success on our your own terms when the rest of the world doesn’t think of it the same way you do. I remember one time a dermatologist asked me what I did and, fresh out of college, armed with my creative writing degree, I said I was a writer. She said, “Hmmm. Are you making a living doing that?” I think money is the measure in our society, but I agree with you that there is more to it than that. And maybe the more pertinent and important question is not am I a successful artist, but am I successful person…

      This topic interests me quite a bit. I’m sure I will write a post on it soon.

  3. jemoyle on August 22, 2014 at 8:19 am

    What a great back to school image 🙂 Your art work just keeps getting better and better! Go J, go!

    • j on August 22, 2014 at 11:06 am

      You’re right, it is a good back-to-school image! *makes a note for future art calendars* Thank you, Joanne. It’s so nice to finally be seeing you online again. xo

  4. Cindy laBelle on August 22, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Thank you dear Judy, for Sharing your creative and unique self and your wonderful art with all of us!

  5. j on August 22, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Thank you back, Cindy. It would be such a lonely endeavor without you guys. I’m very, very grateful. <3

  6. lunajune on August 22, 2014 at 11:15 am

    thank you Judy for being the wonderful creative inspiring caped person that you are ♥
    can’t wait… looking for the spot to put the wonderful butterfly

    • j on August 22, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      You’re so welcome! Thank you for always being willing to play with me! xo

  7. Rosie Grey on August 22, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I love this so much – just gorgeous!

    • j on August 22, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      Thank you, Rosie. I was happy with how it (finally) came out.

  8. Pam on August 22, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Love the art! So glad you kept going until you got there.

    Many interesting questions in all the posts-that-might-have-been. I think while our society encourages us to define success by outside measures (Lifestyles Of The Rich and Famous, anyone?)– using those we may never FEEL it even if other people think we have it. Also, it tends to be a moving target. (Always needing a bigger house/more expensive car/more of everything.)

    I try to get myself to think about whether or not I like my life. Whether or not I enjoy what I am doing. If I can answer yes enough of the time, I feel successful. If not, I try to figure out how I can get closer to answering yes to those questions enough of the time.

  9. j on August 22, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Perspective, perspective, perspective. Gets me every time. (Art school, anyone?) Thank you!

    I could not agree with your success definition more. Also, it seems the more I pursue the stuff I love, the more things happen for me on every front, including money. Funny how that works.

  10. Joanne Marie Firth on August 22, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    I love the painting and the words. I’m a little sad though that you are saying that you are not an artist. I’m sorry for the person who made that statement. I don’t know what I am. Sometimes I think I am a brilliant, creative genius. One who can only be appreciated and understood by other brilliant, creative geniuses. Then 99.9 percent of the rest of the time, I know in my heart that I am me. A really creative person who can’t find just one way to express my creativity. I have to bounce around, do different things all the time, from start to finish and then bounce around some more. Am I an artist? I don’t know.

    As far as success goes. To some people, success is opening their eyes in the morning. That’s good enough for me. All the rest of it is just a bunch of bouncing around. I’ve had the career success, briefly, and it left me a complete mess. Physically and mentally. These days, I try not to dwell on what I don’t have anymore and focus on how I can help others with what I do have left.

    The good part is that I can choose each day how I want to be creative or if I even want to at all. To some people, I’m a has been and a loser. Those people haven’t a clue about me and don’t deserve to.

    Please dry those tears and know that you absolutely are a beautiful and talented artist of many, many things and you are an important person in my life. I love you and I hope you love me right back.

  11. j on August 22, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Aw. Yes I do! xo

    I do consider myself an artist, but in the midst of a piece that isn’t working, I definitely falter. I do it when I write too. And when I wake board, and when I parent, and when I cook… Every endeavor has the potential for temporary suckitude, and in that place, I doubt my abilities and whatever title I may have donned to do the work. I’m okay now though.

    As for the people who think you’re a loser, that is All. About. Them. I’m learning this lesson more and more the older I get. Harsh criticism always says more about the person dishing it out than about the person being critiqued. Always. I just read a post from Annie Neugebauer that suggested killing the meanies with kindness and if that doesn’t work, ignore them. I often go straight to ignoring, but there is something to be said for loving first.

    Thank you for all your kind words, my friend. xox

  12. Something Good | A Thousand Shades of Gray on August 25, 2014 at 4:04 am

    […] Behind the scenes of this post from Judy Clement […]

  13. J.. on August 26, 2014 at 11:13 am

    All of us here in my chest want to hear more about this “falling in love” thing of which you speak!

    Oh, oh, pick us Coach!

    • j on August 27, 2014 at 9:42 am

      Ha! You’d think everyone would be tired of me going on and on about love, but I guess it’s a subject that is never not relevant. <3

      • Karin on August 27, 2014 at 9:53 am

        I don’t think any of us will get tired of talking about love. It’s something that is precious and never to be taken for granted.
        Love is ALWAYS relevant. (Add THAT to your doodles. ☺ )
        You keep rocking on as a warrior of love. Charge into battle–the rest of us will be inspired by your speech and hopefully be strong enough to share it with the world .

  14. Annie Neugebauer (@AnnieNeugebauer) on August 27, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Aw, j. This one made my heart hurt a little. I believe that you’re an artist, but since I don’t know where you’re coming from or what your doubts are, I’m going to leave that be for now. I’m sending you virtual hugs. By the way, I want to read about all of those topics! But I also love your doodles, too. 🙂

    • j on August 27, 2014 at 9:40 am

      Thank you, Annie. Actually, I do think of myself as an artist – more and more all the time. It’s just when I’m in the thick of uncertainty (a phase of almost every illustration I do), I doubt my abilities and think, there’s a reason people go to art school. Some of that is just a healthy appreciation for all I don’t know, and the rest of it is just the demons I regularly experience when I’m pushing up against my limits… just before the limit line shifts. Growing pains. xo

  15. Nina Badzin on August 29, 2014 at 4:06 am

    I like your original idea too in the first paragraph so save that idea for later!

    You ARE an artist!!! You can’t question that. Though I question my writer hat too sometimes.

    • j on September 2, 2014 at 10:55 am

      I love how the first comment says, basically, “not interested in the love post” and then yours and J’s vote yes on the love post. People!

      And thank you so much. I question it in exactly the way you question being a writer, goofily and with regard to the evidence of my life. I often question the writer thing too. And the mom thing. And the yogi thing. And most other things that I sometimes falter trying to do.

      Which is everything, of course, being decidedly human and all. Since I can’t stop the faltering, I better stop the questioning. (You too.)

      • Jeffrey Bennett on September 2, 2014 at 12:21 pm

        I feel the need to invoke the right of doubt. Doubt is our ally, it only doubles as a weapon when misused, and we all do that but let’s not be hasty, and conveniently forget our crazy Uncle Doubt. Doubt leads us towards vulnerability, which is crucial to art, to communicating, to love. Doubt drives us to invent, which is, as everyone is painfully aware, our very nature. Doubt puts us in compromising positions, which is how we invigorate wonder, the primary tool by which he surprise ourselves and each other—allow me to supply a sample of the language, repeat it to yourself, to a loved one, to specifically no one or everyone.

        “I love you. Doubt yourself.

        Let me be the one to live without doubt in you.

        I propose we go from there.”

        With love that sways like cradles and graves,


  16. j on September 2, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    I love that, Jeffrey. I should make a card that says that, because that is so often what we want convey to floundering people we love.

    And I agree that some doubt is healthy and fuel for the process. But I think the good doubt isn’t existential; it’s more concerned with whether or not you can do this thing you’ve never tried before, or whether you can successfully push the envelope further than you ever have. I’m a firm believer in the idea that some fears lead us in the direction we most need to go.

    • Jeffrey Bennett on September 3, 2014 at 7:44 am

      I agree with you on the grounds that healthy doubt should not be limited to the existential, although to be specific at this point I must indicate that it’s my intention to declare that I believe doubt is existential only on the basis that that is where it gets its beginnings, much like we do. But I want to take all the good toys home and play, don’t you?

      We take our leave/ we often turn ’round/ walking together like this is like walking/ three feet off the ground.

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