The Pain of an Artist

Despite growing up in a home full of love and acceptance, I was a creative girl who was emotionally unstable. I was filled with insecurity, self-condemnation, and unhealthy

I thank God for giving me a creative mind. As an artist, I have an imagination that goes beyond what is physically seen, but the drawback of being one is that I can get easily overwhelmed. I can become hard on myself. In fact, I was a perfectionist who doubted my worth.

When I was younger, my perfectionism as an artist was at its extremes. I felt that I was a burden to my family. In fact, I thought I wasn’t a part of the family because I had no academic awards like my kuya and ate. I wanted to be smart and to have awards like them. I was just too different. I felt that if I didn’t succeed like them, I would be nothing. Self-condemnation became so natural to me that I wanted to give up on my life many times. I attempted suicide and I succumbed to the lie that I wasn’t accepted. Every minimal mistake led me to trample on my self-worth.

Thankfully, God gave me a father who created a home with a culture of blessing. If it wasn’t for my dad, I wouldn’t be here today.

It was my dad who never gave up on me.

The Love of a Dad

My dad affirmed me on a daily basis. Whenever I was emotionally unstable, he listened, processed my struggles with me, and asked me about my thoughts. After hearing from me, he replaced the lies in my head with words of affirmation.

Whenever I rebelled, he looked beyond the hurting words I said and replaced them with words of love. He knew and understood that I was only picking a fight because I was overwhelmed inside. What I needed was security and acceptance. He saw past my dark words and healed my heart.

Weird is Unique

One of the major things that affected me when I was younger was being called, “weird.” I felt unaccepted. As a response, my dad said, “Being weird means you’re unique! You’re different! And that’s a good thing! It makes you one of a kind.” His affirming words may sound cheesy today, but as a  child, they were my sunshine, my hope.

Up to this day, when people call me weird, I feel so affirmed. What was once a curse turned into a blessing because my dad always, always replaced the negative connotations of that word with positive ones.

When I was around 10 years old, I created my very first digital artwork on my brother’s
computer. I worked so hard on my drawing that it took me 16 hours to finish! When I showed it to my dad, the very first words that came out of his mouth were, “I am your  number 1 fan!”

His words stuck to me! Since then, I always showed him my work, and he always affirmed them. The more that he affirmed my work and my skill, the more that my craft grew. And as my craft grew, my confidence grew as well. My passion for art flourished as I loved my creations more.

Blessed by Dad

The culture of blessing – this changed my life. My father blessed my life through spoken words. He prayed over me when I was under his wings. He blessed me with God’s joy, love, and protection. And he declared that someday, I would become an artist!

Today, I am indeed a digital artist and an art teacher. I love what I do; I love what I create. I love my purpose.

The culture of blessing inspires me to be a teacher who can teach kids how to create art while filling them with love and affirmation. It opens my heart to artists who are misunderstood and who are struggling emotionally. I dream of building a place of security even if it is just inside my tiny classroom.

I try to offer love and acceptance to my students. In my family, we do a weekly blessing where each member says affirming words to one another. No one is allowed to correct or say anything negative about each other. This builds an atmosphere of acceptance at home, and I want my students to experience something similar.

The Blessed Artist

Whenever I am overwhelmed and tempted to look down on myself, my dad’s past affirmations save me and stop me from drowning in negative thoughts. His blessings helped stabilize my raging emotions and encouraged me to look to God always. I remember how Jesus sees me, how He died for me, how He loves me for who I am, and how He will never give up on me.

I can confidently say that I wouldn’t be where I am today without my dad. I wouldn’t be the happy artist I am today if it weren’t for the culture of blessing from my home. I also wouldn’t be alive today if I didn’t feel the Father’s love through my dad.

I became a love-filled artist whose passion is to create art that displays God’s love. I became an artist dedicated to God.

My dad’s love for God helped me become the best version of myself–from the unstable, emotional, condemning artist to the stable, positive, affirming artist that I am  today.

Shiriel Elise Magalong-Corda

Shiriel Elise Magalong-Corda is a graphic designer at DMI Medical Supply Co., Inc. (known for selling MX3 products). She is a freelance art teacher for short-term workshops and a digital content creator for Shirielise & Shishi's Cafe.