“His Uterus Was Overwhelming”

A colleague once misheard my statement, “His hubris was overwhelming,” as “His uterus was overwhelming.” At the time I was referring to a cocky coworker who thought he knew all about print technology, graphic design, and life in general.

He was so obnoxious and condescending that I was really glad when he got laid off. The expressions of his shock and dismay were priceless as he was escorted out of the building. He thought so highly of himself and his contributions that he never dreamed the company would let him go. Finally there was justice in this world, I thought.

My dad told me of something he read: “There are no friends or enemies—only teachers.” He also said, “Sometimes what we dislike in others is also what we have to watch out for in ourselves.”

I thought of this last night as I was going through some old pieces I created during art school. I wondered, how many times have I sabotaged myself by not allowing myself to be a beginner? How many times did I think I knew all there was to know about something, but in reality, there was so much more I could have learned had I kept an open mind. A beginner’s mind.

As a young artist, I thought very highly of myself and my natural talents. After all, my teachers and peers praised my skills and admired my work. I had won many awards without too much effort. In fact, although I hate to admit it, all that ego-stroking made me lazy.

As an adult looking back on my creations, my mistakes are clear, plentiful, and painful to see. I can’t help but chide myself, “And you thought this was good? Girl, you have so much to learn.”

Today I decided that I was going to allow myself to be a beginner as I work on laying out the home page of my website. I had never completely built one before—just Photoshop mock-ups. I had certainly listened to many lectures on web design as well as read some articles and books. “That’s nothing,” says HB. “You have to build one from scratch to really learn.”

Right now I am having a huge chunk of humble pie and am not liking it very much. But I realize that in order to make myself more marketable, I need to go through the process of building a sucky website. Because it will only get better as I keep trying, keep making mistakes, and keep learning from them. Maybe I’ll find compassionate teachers/guides who will help me learn along the way.

Now is not the time to let my uterus hubris overwhelm me.

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