Van Gogh, MOMA

Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit that helps boost your body image, whether directly or indirectly — and hopefully kick-starts your week on a positive note!

Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it. I’d love to hear from you!

The talented artist Lisa Congdon didn’t start painting ’til she was 32 years old. Her mother, a prolific sewer all her life, took up quilting in her 50s.

Fast forward several decades, and her mom’s work has landed on the cover of Quilting Arts Magazine (which is the publication for art quilters). And there’s more.

As Lisa writes in her post:

While it may seem impressive that my mom didn’t start quilting until she was in her 50′s, what’s even more impressive is what happened afterward. She joined guilds and made friends with other men and women who also made art quilts. When she was in her 60′s she started a blog about her life and work.

She built a website to showcase her work. She dyes her own fabrics, screen prints, paints, stamps and discharges dyes. In the early 2000′s, after refining her craft and participating in critiques, she began entering competitions, showing her work in galleries and quilt shows and selling pieces, many commissioned by private collections and organizations. Her work is featured in quilt books and numerous magazines.

What does this have to do with body image or self-care?

Really, everything.

I loved Lisa’s piece about her mom, and it reminded me of a powerful fact: It’s never too late to start.

It’s never too late to immerse yourself in a new world. To change. To do things you’ve never even thought possible —  anything from embracing your body to loving yourself to ditching dieting to pursuing a new passion.

And I just wanted to remind you. (I also can forget myself!)

Often, we get so used to the status quo, and we can’t imagine a different, better, present or future.

And, if we do, we think we’re too old, too tired, too inexperienced, too experienced, too big, too small, too something to do anything about it.

We’re not.

Again, you can always make changes. You can always discover movement that you genuinely enjoy. You can always trash the scale. You can always see a therapist.

You can always tell someone how you feel. You can always get in touch with your feelings and with yourself.

You can always stop reaching for “diet” foods and rediscover the foods you actually like.

You can always take up meditation. You can always learn something new.

You can always start journaling or blogging or dancing.

You can always try a different hobby or return to an old passion you had when you were a child.

You can always start with small steps, slowly revising “I can’t” thoughts, slowing becoming your own friend, slowly seeing yourself in a kinder light.

It’s never too late to start building a more positive body image or start practicing compassionate self-care.

(By the way, here’s a list of 19 late-blooming artists.)

* Van Gogh didn’t attend art school ’til he was 27. I took that photo when my mom and I went to MOMA in NYC a few years ago.