all these things lately- The Catcher in the Rye, The Land of Green Plums, The Triggering Town, A Clockwork Orange, the letter of intent, my practice itself, writing, writing, writing, the list of deadlines for art opportunities sitting to my right, memories, overcoming past hurts, relationships with family members, the big snarling dog painting on my wall...
all these things begin to point, as glaring as a neon sign, toward one thing: figuring out who i am and how i want to live.
i'm sure i must sound like a broken record on this blog sometimes but self-knowledge is a big issue for me at this point in my life. i need to free myself from a wealth of very large and strange expectations of myself that, when i really sit down and look at them, i have no clue where they came from and yet i nevertheless allow them to exact a very hurtful influence on my opinion of myself, my work, my life, my everything.
for the past several weeks, the last sentence i write in my journal each morning before i get rolling on my day is Believe in yourself. every morning for weeks and weeks and weeks, i have written this sentence. it's finally beginning to make sense in a particular way that lets me know i've misunderstood what believing in one's self really is. today, i realized that the big reason i struggle with believing in myself is because i get focused on whether or not other people believe in me too. when i've allowed this to happen i trade my instincts for their preferences and this has only ever been detrimental to my life in a very sweeping, all-encompassing way. and the nuttiest part about it is that it's basically seeking approval from people who traditionally aren't really even capable of giving it to me anyway. never have been. it's a fucked-up brass ring. an accomplishment spurred by masochism. it's stupid. and in addition to being stupid, it's super destructive.
as i read all these books and write all these winding blog posts and come to the end of another page in my slang-filled journal, i come in to confrontation with myself... how fear of being displeasing has sabotaged a great many things in my life and within myself. in short, i've been holding back... and holding back some very good things.
the latest collection of paintings and drawings have given me a taste of what it is to be fearless again and to practice integrity. it has given me a warmth and hope that i had been living without for a long time it seems like... and that it doesn't really matter if other people approve of what i'm doing and who i am, if i'm happy with what i've done. why this has been such a hard understanding to maintain, i don't know. but it's high time to pretty much say fuck it to other people's definitions of success and their expectations for me. i need to begin the self-assured mantra of i don't care.
i think artists wrestle with this issue a lot. not just professionally, but privately as well. feeling misunderstood and unsupported was the state of affairs for most artists i went to school with. i can't tell you how many people i know whose families scoff at their pursuits, find art and poetry to be laughable, think that it's merely some display of ego. sad. and very hard to overcome. it hurts.
The Storialist left this link in the comments stream of one of the posts below and i keep going back to it. it deals with being present and not worrying about whether or not anyone likes you. it helps me and it got me on track with really thinking about the role i play in feeling minimized in certain relationships, professional or otherwise. it comes down to something as big and bad and basic as the ills of approval-seeking behavior. no good, friends. no good. and it takes a lot of acceptance and guts to get beyond that shit, for sure.
these texts are an archive of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area from march 2007 - march 2015. it stands as a record of close to a decade of my life, charting the struggles i faced as an artist, daughter, and lover. messy and chaotic at times, eloquent and poetic at others, these texts are an index i am proud of. it was here in this electric box that i learned how to be honest about my experiences and the person i needed to become. it was here that i first learned the truism that words make the world and how to trust such a beautiful, rife, hard fact.
thank you for meeting me here in such tall grass.
my artist website is here.
my artist website is here.