I Feel Pretty

When I was a kid, my dad used to sing the song “I Feel Pretty” from the movie West Side Story. Yes, my dad. When I was little, I thought the song was about this hopelessly stuck-up girl who liked to brag about her good looks. Catchy tune or not, I couldn’t understand why he liked it.

As I got older, I realized that Natalie Wood wasn’t boasting, she was simply giddy with happiness. Why? Because Tony was in love with her, and his love made her feel not only pretty, but also witty and charming and gay.

That’s how it feels when someone likes our art. When we get a complimentary e-mail or a social media shout-out or an award, we feel all those things and more. And like Maria in the show, we think the city should give us its key.

It’s not a feeling that necessarily lasts. Later that same day, we may face a harsh critique or a creative block or a rejection. In my meditation book, it talks about the importance of accepting that nothing in life is permanent. Things are changing by the moment, even our moods. But that’s all part of the journey. Think how boring life would be if everything was always the same.

So for those glorious moments when someone sees, really sees, your art and bothers to tell you so, relish it! Boast to a friend, brag to a family member, show off to a colleague, dance around your kitchen. Because for just those few minutes, life is pretty in every way.

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