Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Not letting fear conquer all

So a while back I wrote a big long post all about fear and facing fear and not letting it conquer. Turns out I'm a humungous hypocrite.

Fear is something that took hold of the reigns in my brain and halted the horse, cart, and tackled my willpower. It's still sitting here like a toad on my chest. (Seriously, I'm honestly fearing I might have pneumonia despite all my essential oils and self-foot-zoning. I am SICK.) Oh looky, there's that stupid fear word again.

Back in January, I volunteered to do some artwork for a couple of different friends. One was to do caricatures for the cub scouts for their Blue & Gold Banquet. The other was to do five or six drawings of women from the Book of Mormon for a banquet. In addition to that I was madly trying to finish a novel.

I did the caricatures, no problem. I enjoy doing them, but I don't really consider them *real* art because they aren't hard for me. Well... ok, to be honest, sometimes I do struggle to get them to look right, but more often than not, I am pleased with how they turn out. They're cartoons.

But the charcoal drawings... those I've put off and put off and come up with every excuse to not do them YET, and now I'm down to the wire and HAVE to get them done. And I will, don't worry. But they scare me.

Why? Because I'm afraid. I'm afraid that my drawings, the charcoal portraits that mean so much to me, will suck. That people will laugh, will hate them, will think I'm crazy for thinking I'm an artist, and that all that time I spent in art school getting my degree was a waste of time.

Yeah, yeah, I know. But hey, it's how I feel. Same thing with this novel I'm writing. I love it. I love the characters. I love the story. I honestly think it's a good story. But I'm afraid to finish it. I think I'm a fraud, a poser, a nobody in a world surrounded by awesomeness.


Ok, so everyone feels this way once in a while. And it's true, you can't please everyone. And there will always be someone to look at something I've done to tell me ways to improve it or what they'd have done differently. Art is subjective like that. Hey, on my good days, I'm all about hearing those thoughts so I can improve what I do or see things from a different perspective. Feedback is good for that.

It's stupid to sit here and think everyone will hate something I HAVEN'T FINISHED YET.

So coughing up a lung and having no energy at all, I sat down and faced my fear. Because if people are going to judge something, I should actually produce something for them to judge, right? So. I loaded up on drugs. I prayed. I prayed a LOT. I got a priesthood blessing from my neighbor on his lunch break. I kept a vial of essential oil nearby to rub on my lungs and nose and sinuses to keep the air passages open. And I set up my easel and got to work anyway.

And lo, this was born:

And now after looking at it, I need to re-think the sizes and layout. I'm not sure the journey of the mother is clear from baby to sending him off to war.

Normally it doesn't take me all day to do a drawing, but I'm sick. And I have kids. So. Take that for what you will, but dammit, I persisted. And I had a small miracle. While I drew, I rarely coughed so hard it hurt. My arm didn't hurt to work. I felt energized. And I had the same experience drawing today's picture that I have when I draw portraits. I felt a communication open up, and I felt the emotion and the love that these mothers have for their babies, and I cried while working. Not from frustration, but from pure emotion.

Designer in me is screaming that the bottom pic should be the largest, that top left should be smallest, that the spear stands out too much, fix the hand/arm, etc. The artist in me is jumping up and down in joy for DOING SOMETHING!! So, I'll be re-drawing this to correct it and make it right. BUT, yo, throw a parade for me. I faced a fear today. And that's a big deal.

Why do I call that a miracle? Because as soon as I'd get up to get a drink or move around, the 'blech' feeling would take over again. As soon as I'd pick up the charcoal and start working, it was gone. Miracle in my book. Which says to me that God knows who I am, and what's important to me, and that He believes in me, even when I don't.

And here it is, 11:30pm, I've been at this since 1pm today, and picture one is done.  Well.  No. It's done enough that I can look at it and figure out what I need to do differently to make it *right*. Nothing like posting something on the internet to make you look at it critically and say, "hmm... how could I make it better?"  But that's what roughs are for.

Am I feeling better overall? Only when drawing. I have a suspicious feeling that if I decided to spend the next hour working on my novel, I'd probably feel just fine for that, as well.  I should... that novel needs some love. And I should take Chuck Wendig's advice and finish what I start. (I should note: Content Warning for Chuck Wendig. If you're going to read his entire post and you dislike swearing, don't. If you're just going to read the initial graphic, you'll be fine.)

So now I just need to kick this fear in the tuckuss and send it on it's way. I'm so very grateful for friends and family who love me and believe in me and help me have the courage to continue trying even when I'm afraid to.


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