This summer someone asked me, well, rather he told me, “better that your artwork be hanging on someone’s wall rather than keeping it all to yourself.” And I decided he was right, I ought to show my work again somewhere, but first I’d have to…
Well let’s just say, I had a very long list of things I’d have to do before I was ready to take my art out into the world again. The gremlin voice leapt into my mind and a dozen ways to postpone. But he gave me a short timeframe and no wiggle room to opt out. “Two weeks and you’ve got your first show,” he said.
It wasn’t really a show, as in proper art exhibition. It was a street festival with a crew of vendors selling arts and crafts and 10,000 people wandering around. Frankly, being on the other side of the table felt a little out of my element. But it was an opportunity to set up a print table and it did get me and my paintings out of the house, in front of people who actually had questions about my work. Valuable experience that; actually talking about my paintings. I was struck by how rarely I’ve ever done so.
And guess what; putting my artwork out there wasn’t nearly as difficult putting my very first short story into the mail years ago. I was so certain I’d be — rejected. And isn’t that something we’re all afraid of. That very first story was published and I won $3,000 and identified as a writer. This time I sold only $80 worth of prints and got a $30 parking ticket. I still identify as an artist. But that’s not my point.
Maybe keeping our creative output all to ourselves is all about readiness, which is something that probably links right back to the whole idea of commitment. Whoa. Scary. Because when we step up in a way that feels big, sometimes nothing happens; but sometimes everything changes, and maybe that’s the part we are really fretting over while we’re so busy being not-quite-ready.
Perhaps it is about our capacity to respond to the ever-so-slight (or monumental) change in who we become as a result of what we commit to and actually follow through on.
And maybe it’s not about fear of failure either; it could be fear of success and what that might mean when our self-perception changes, and when what we choose to do starts to affect our relationships with time, money and others in our social realm.
So, what is it for you, that you continue to put on the back burner? Who challenges you to step out of your comfort zone and into a new realm faster than you would on your own? And what kind of support do you have when you get there?