Monday, October 19, 2009

Things that scare us . . .

In the previous post, someone commented about "melting down" while trying to learn a new skill, and the horrible feeling that comes from thinking everybody knows something but you, and you're a complete idiot. I think we all feel that way from time to time. And the key is to not let it get to us, to do the best we can, muddle through, and not worry about what others are thinking of us.

In light of that, let me share with you a page from one of my art journals. These are books (always the same, just with different covers and different colored paper) that I scribble in, usually on a daily basis. The cover says "artist's journal," but what I create inside isn't really art. Well, it's art, but it's not "good" art! And you can look at it and think, "What a talentless dummy!" And that's okay. (Note: Talk about being scared! This is something new for me to do in this blog. But here goes . . .)

My point is that on January 31st of this year, I'd run out of space in the previous book and was beginning page 1 of a brand-new book. This is scary! What if I muck things up on the first page? Does that set the tone for the rest of the book? Oh, the pressure! Oh, the tension!

So here's a picture of my first page. I purposely spilled coffee on it (or, rather, painted some coffee-colored smudges on it) so that the pressure was alleviated. Easy.

It might be difficult for you to read my writing. The top part of the page says, "This is the first entry in a new journal and it's always so daunting, so scary. Will it set the tone for the rest of the book? Will it be good enough? Maybe I should spill coffee (insert stain here) on it, just to break it in?"

We all have self-doubt. We all often think we're not good enough (especially in photography and Photoshop). It's how we handle those feelings that counts. And as I get older, I realize how easy it is to now say, "I don't understand what you mean. Would you mind going over it again?" I used to just nod my head and try to look intelligent. Ha! Doesn't work any more!

It's a new day. Ask questions. Live with ambiguity. And know that everyone, no matter how strongly they express themselves, is worried about appearing stupid. ©Carol Leigh


Anonymous said...

Carol, thanks so much for sharing your journal page and giving me something to really think about and mull over. I know I am totally challenged by the "what if it doesn't turn out right?" voice in my head. As you know I have lots of empty pages and art supplies on the shelf, and only a few actual attempts to show for having all those supplies. It does help to think that maybe others experience self doubt, but they haven't let those feelings become a huge roadblock. Hopefully this will give me a much needed nudge...


Carol Leigh said...

I almost removed this post. Although I liked what I said, I figured it was just too different from my regular stuff and, since no one commented on it, that reinforced my thinking that I was way off base. So thank you for taking the time to respond. It's lonely out here on the coast by myself, and I appreciate the feedback. -- Carol Leigh

Anonymous said...

Don't remove a post. You are so right on. NC is hearing you loud and clear.

Anonymous said...

Hi Carol:
I'm just now getting back into the groove on many fronts and checking out your photos and reading your comments on a daily basis will once again be part of my routine Your posting today is full of wisdom.
Thanks much.... Gisela


Ditto to what everyone else has posted. I love that you posted your journal page and your thoughts. I didn't comment sooner because I haven't been to your site (or anyone's) for days. I always learn from you whether it is photography or just your words of wisdom (all your words are wise). Congratulations, by the way, on the 5 photos sales. That is way cool. Keep doing what you do... following your heart.

gottago said...

I like reading your thinking on the page. Please, please more posts like this one. It's real, honest and interesting.

The more you share, the more I learn.

No more thoughts of removing posts, ok?

Dale N. Wing said...

Hi Carol,

I haven't commented, but I visit or blog all the time. Really like your comments and I love viewing all your photos.

Would you explain a little more on what you use your art journal for.