Lose the Fear

I’ve started my first big project at work since coming back from my maternity leave, and I’m in the sketching phase now and very quickly have to finalize ideas (by next Tuesday). And normally during this phase, I get a little anxious about communicating my ideas clearly via my artwork or committing too quickly to ideas that may not work as well as I want with the time and budget constraints that I deal with. But not this time. Maybe it’s an adjusted life attitude now that I’m a mom of two, maybe it’s the lack of sleep from dealing with a teething baby, maybe it’s the changes that are being made at my place of employment, but I feel really good about everything.

It doesn’t always feel this way. Even after creating a work, I’ve had doubts. Every time I’ve shared a painting or a poem, every time I upload something to try and sell on Fine Art America, I’ve felt a twinge of fear.

Creating should feel good. We shouldn’t fear the process, and we shouldn’t fear sharing the creation, but accept that it is what it is. We should move with the flow rather than fight against it as much as we possibly can because it is healthier for us as creatives to do so. The tortured artist stereotype does not have to be a reality because the truth is that we are our own torturers.

So lose the fear. Do what you can when you can, and that is more than enough.

Reading Past Works

On my weekend away up at Lake Ontario a few weeks ago, I sat down and read Penumbra for the first time since releasing it back in 2013. I had a little trepidation when I started reading that I would want to give up on ever writing anything ever again, but that didn’t happen. Instead, I was actively engaged in the story! (I also only noticed two tiny formatting errors and no typos, so that was exciting.)

It was strange, though, because I realized that the tale I wrote in Penumbra was an allegory for all of the inner work I would be doing for the next year and a half. No, I didn’t have evil rat-men coming after me, nor did I enlist the help of cockroaches or pigeons, but the journey of facing down my internal fears and expanding myself, the opportunity to unlock some of my hidden talents and powers as a human being, and even the feeling afterwards that my heroine felt. It was strange. Like I could have saved myself a lot of grief and struggle if I had just paid attention to the message I had been clearly writing to myself a year earlier.

The good thing, though, is that reading my old work has given me the confidence to move onto my novel in earnest. It will be slow going, but I will finish it eventually. And knowing that feels really good.

New Year’s Day Musings

Starting in 2010, I stopped drawing up a list of resolutions. Instead, I chose one major self-improvement/growth task for myself to work on, knowing that several small changes would come about simply by focusing on one big change. That first year, it was to learn to cherish myself, something I had neglected for a long time (possibly my entire life). The next year, my focus was on childbirth and being the mother I most wanted to be. The next, I focused on finding joy in the small moments and accepting life for what it is.  Last year, I focused on what I could give back to the world, in both small and big ways.

This year, I want to learn to move through life, not without fear, but despite fear, both professionally and personally.  See, although I project confidence, inside I can be cripplingly shy and unsure. My abhorrence of being annoying keeps me from joining in conversations at times, even when I know I can add something to it. But I’ve recently realized how much my fear has held me back in my life. Professionally, I sometimes expect my work to stand on it’s own, rather than engaging and sharing my own passion for the projects.  Personally, I know that I have missed or delayed the opportunity to form potentially lifelong friendships.  When I open up enough to actually converse with people, when I ask the right questions and engage them in conversation, I can learn their stories. And I find them frequently fascinating! So, rather than be afraid that I’m annoying someone, I have to trust that they might in fact find me a little fascinating too. I know that I won’t be able to entirely rid myself of my fear, but I will learn to move around it.

This, of necessity, means tapping into a more aggressive part of my personality than I’ve let out in many years, and that means that this year will also be one of finding balance between the strong/aggressive side and the soft/nurturing side of my personality.

For me, 2013 was a year of transition, of finally ridding myself of the fear of poverty, of finding myself again.  This coming year will be one of finding my balance and focus.

I wish you all luck on your journey through 2014, whichever roads you choose to travel.