During the process of writing my most recent posts, I’ve done quite a bit of self-reflecting and soul-searching Through daily journaling, I’ve been able to open up in a manner that fostered new discoveries, personal realization, and helped me recognize areas for improvement and growth. As I’ve dug deeper in my writing and slowly pulled back the layers, I see that I’ve grown tired of myself and inaction. Since my writing has taken on a no holds barred persona, a number of things have become very clear to me.
I overidentify my self-worth to the volume of what I’ve accomplished.
I don’t take my own advice.
I am not comfortable with being a beginner.
I over think every step I take which hinders me from being further along in my journey.
I plan more than I execute.
I am in a loop and I can’t escape my cycle.
Out of all these traits, there is one underlying aspect inherently true of all my quirks – my lack of full commitment to my creative journey. There’s a part of my psyche still stuck on an idea that I am not good enough and never will be. It’s an area that’s deeply rooted in fear, which I’ve been at war with for a very long time. Referring to myself as a creative, let alone an artist, is not an association I feel comfortable with. These terminologies are not aspects of myself that I believe are true, nor are they qualities that I can easily embody. Therefore, this process of honing my creative side and exploring uncharted areas has been a battle of wits, one that I feel I’ve been failing to fully embrace and commit myself to.
What’s caused these stern yet true analyses is the relentless feeling that I’m not doing enough to get where I want to be. I’m not having fun and haven’t been for some time. I can’t relax and can’t stop overthinking everything! I often feel mentally exhausted and periodically want a break from life and from always doing.
Some time back I read through one of my journals from 2017 as I recounted my ongoing experience of lettering every day for the year. One thing that was evident at the time, but I carelessly ignored, was that I was not having fun with the process. The task of lettering became simply that: a task; another item on the list of things that I told myself I must do because of x,y, & z reasons and one that I’m sure was rooted in selfish gain.
Fast forward to 2018, a new chapter with new possibilities, I am here again toiling with those same creative challenges. Am I having fun doing this? Am I over-identifying with my creative capabilities? Am I over analyzing my art and my writing? Am I an imposter? At a point I stop and think “Is this what the life of a creative entails – always questioning whether you’re good enough, doing enough, thinking outside the box enough? Is this just a form of painful pleasure?”
These questions have forced me to take a step back and look at what I’m doing in an objective manner. I want to be good at what I do but because I am not improving at a quicker rate, I look down on myself as a result. I’m not going outside my comfort zone and experimenting with new techniques in order to advance my skills. I’ve been focused more on “getting there” and getting noticed versus spending my time on slow meticulous practice. I’ve approached learning with a one and done state of mind. I enable my lack of commitment by saturating myself with knowledge, planning to no end, and being over prepared to face challenges that I’m not confronting. I fear stepping into the murky, unclear, and uncertain realm of the unknown…. I haven’t fully committed.
I know this might sound like I’m coming down on myself but I see it as calling myself out and owning up to my shortcomings. I see what is happening in my life yet I’ve been perpetuating the behavior. When you’re someone who sees planning as a form of control, the idea that planning is leaving you more out of control than in control defies everything that you know is true.
These realizations have been a wakeup call and a call to action. I have to stand strong and break the cycle.
With half of the year now a memory, I have to look ahead and decide whether these characteristics are things I wish to continue as my narrative for the rest of the year to come. Being a one-woman show and being my biggest critic and supporter, everything that I do is in essence from the perspective of the beginner – one who still has so much to learn and so much to offer still. I can’t continue with this “one foot in and one foot out” way of thinking. I have to wholeheartedly own this journey and be prepared for the outcome in whatever shape that may take.
I know these think pieces of mine are very common. I often share what I’ve reflected on and how I plan to change, only to end up reflecting on the same things months down the line. I guess it’s to show how much internal conflict I go through to simply get ahead in carving my creative path. The struggle comes from not accepting the circumstances as what they are; a momentary time of discomfort. There is no need to rush and no need to fear. Being in a hurry to “get there” won’t get me there any sooner. I have to put in the work and do so in a healthy and productive manner. I have to see everything I do as fruitful and beneficial to the next step. I have to slow down and accept things as they are. I have to fully commit.