There are two things that I know about myself very well. I am strong. Strong enough to concur anything that life throws at me with a smile on my face and random thoughts of the true purpose in any crappy situation. I am courages. Courage is what drives me. Courage is what sets me apart from others. I make mistakes and courageously tackle the outcomes. I make risky decisions just to challenge the faith. But as strong and as courageous I am I am not fearless. I push though life with passion until the squeaky, annoying voice in my head presents me with some random fear. ‘You can’t do it’ ‘You are not that great’ ‘You are full of it’ ‘You are not enough’. Fear is what stopped me from following the whispers of my soul when I graduated high school and pushed me through boring business school instead of letting me surrender to my calling and create art. This fear lasted for over a decade. That squeaky, annoying (almost like Karen from Will & Grace) voice kept shouting ‘You are not an artist, you just wish you were!’. Let’s stop here for a moment. What did I just say? ‘I wish I was...’ You don’t wish to be a lawyer if you don’t like stuffy court rooms, you don’t wish to be a gardener if you don’t like flowers, you don’t wish to be a farmer if you love living in a city, you don’t wish to be a car mechanic if you don’t like the smell of metal and grease (ewww). You don’t wish to be someone you are not. You can only wish to be who your soul screams to be. You can only wish to be the answer to all the whispers and dreams. And when you are who you were created to be you are always enough, you are in peace, you are fearless.
After reading Kelly Rae Robert’s post about fears that make our hearts cringe I was able to reasonably name a few I was facing these days but I knew that the day was coming when all the fears were going to take over my heart and mind and I was going to start doubting myself as an artist. I knew that was going to be the best day to go through this exercise. And I didn’t have to wait too long. 4 days after reading Kelly’s post, on a pretty Sunday evening the dark clouds creeped in and all the ‘flying high’ with my course-mates was gone. I went into hiding behind a wall of self doubt.
My strength and courage were gone. I went to bed pouting and had a very random conversation with my husband:
M: I’m not an artist any more. I changed my mind!
J: Baby only an artist would say such thing! Get some sleep.
Sleep was the last thing I wanted. My heart was broken. I was giving up again. My heart was racing. I felt stupid and silly. What was I thinking jumping up and down, playing with my brushes, feeling sixteen again? It’s a good thing I realized my silliness in time...
The morning came way too quickly. I wasn’t ready to wake up and face the failure of my short lived dream. James cuddled me and asked:
J: Where is all that self doubt coming from?
M: (Tears taking over my whole face) It starts in my tummy then goes through my heart. Or maybe the other way around. And I..
J: You know that’s something only true artist would say! And only a real artist would wear the socks you are wearing.
I knew the time came when my heart was ready for me to face my fears. I was ready to write them down. I was ready to counter them with my courage and strength. I sat at my ‘artist desk’ and grabbed a heart I made months ago. Hmm that’s a good start... Now write! Use the ugly color pen - you don’t like your fears...
The first thought that came to my mind after writing it all down was “I seriously want to SLAP you now!” Where is all this coming from? Is there any confidence hiding within that self doubting you? Uh I got angry. Let me walk away for a second. (an hour thanks to the traffic!). Now sit down and read it again. Is this who you are? I know you are not! I know you are so much better, so much happier, so much more than that! Raspberry? Really?
Before I knew I was leaning over an almost finished piece of artwork with lots of color and a new tree. Holly molly I actually used that scrap bark I thought was trash - it was broken, pathetic... It grew strong in my piece. It was reborn. I let go. I’m not sure whether my face was covered with paint or tears or both. My heart was racing once again. My hands were shaking. My hair was covered in glue. My poor hair, there is no hope for it. I stepped away.
I am bigger than my fears.