Fear and denial
Waves are still nonexistant so I've been taking the time to update a few things behind the scenes on the blog and work on painting. Actually, that's not exactly true. Well, the wave part is true- we've started calling the ocean "lake pacifico", but I'm not really painting so much as continually getting things ready to paint… Like everything else, that's a bit harder to do here than back home- but I've been doing a bit of trade in order to use someone's tools and should be getting materials soon. I've spent a bit of reflective time over the last few days trying to figure out why it's so hard to convince myself to work on the next piece of art. It's always like pulling teeth, which seems odd for something that i love doing and gives me energy. I spent a few hours yesterday helping a neighbor setup his computer/printer so he could begin writing a book- something he has been putting off and making excuses about for all too long. I start telling him about goal setting and taking baby steps not making excuses- and I soon realize what a hypocrite i sound like. It sounds so easy telling him to simply chase his dreams and passion and let the words flow, but back at the apartment i make the same excuses with different flavor.
Most of my adult life it's been a battle to create. I typically have blamed this on work, and travel schedule, and having too much to do. No matter how many of these problems i changed, there's always another problem waiting. Im pretty sure by definition that makes these excuses, not problems.
Once we left on this trip i didn't really have those comfortable excuses, but there wasn't enough room in the bus and i didn't have the right supplies. Now we're in one place for a month, I've got tons of room, all the paint and supplies and i still keep making excuses. I don't have the right materials to paint on, should be surfing, have to update the blog, etc….
Now theres no surf, I've got a line on the boards and the blog is up to date. It seems I'm running out of excuses and after some inflection it seems that I'm finally addressing to the real problem. Fear. Really? Fear of painting? No. As much as i am struggling to admit it, i think it's a fear of failure.
Maybe we all do this in some way. We find ourselves "stuck" simply because of the wall of excuses we have built to keep from admitting our fears. Stuck in a relationship that isn't perfect, a job that doesn't make us happy, or a town we don't like. Certainly it doesn't help that society tells us to keep trudging on, but really in most cases its fear that locks us in. Why did it take me 10 years of jen suggesting this type of trip and fighting back with all my might at what appeared (from the other side) to be a completely life altering decision that could end with us in financial ruin or worse? Now looking back on the decision, and the fear- it seems ridiculous that i had any fears about it at all. At worst we are simply driving around, no big deal (and at best, we're opening ourselves up and changing our lives in ways we can't possibly imagine). Every consuming, terrifying, life-changing decision i can remember making over the years was only terrifying before making the decision. Afterwords, looking back on it things seem easy or even laughable. Whichever path we choose simply becomes another step in our journey and after we've taken the step, its a past portion of the journey to look back on and possibly to learn from. But for some reason, that doesn't keep us from stopping in our tracks at the next big decision and spinning out about what could happen if we choose we poorly or do something wrong, or fail or disappoint.
With my art, it seems to be a fear of failure, or disappointment or simply not living up to expectations. We all hide from the fears. Those expectations may be our parent's, our partner's, society's or worse yet our own… but they freeze us in the same way that those "life altering" decisions do. It's easier to not write or strum the guitar then to realize me might not be brilliant at it. Easier to simply put up with the job we don't love than to send out resumes and risk getting turned down. Easier to put off that trip until after retirement than admit that you are afraid of the unknowns related to doing it today. And for me, easier to make a million excuses than to simply paint and risk finding out that im not michelangelo.
I was lucky enough to have a bit of natural ability early, and I've always been lucky enough to have people around me who build me up and tell me how talented in am- but for some reason that has only seemed to increase the pressure. In my life i have only created about a couple dozen paintings and only sold one work outside of family and friends. How can anyone expect perfection at something they have done so few times? its absurd. I need to realize that perfection isn't the goal, but create for the sake of creating and with repetition will come more success.
I don't paddle out to a wave expecting someone to ask me to go pro… In fact i typically paddle out hoping to not get injured and if I'm lucky I learn one thing that i didn't get the day before. So why would i expect each painting to be a masterpiece…especially when those who paint masterpieces have painted 1000s of non-masterpieces before them?
I guess deep down this really isn't news…I may have known this for a while, now its merely time to deal with it. So, since admitting it is the first step to solving a problem…we can move on. =)
All else is great. We are all finally healthy and collectively enjoying the apartment. Been here for two weeks but it feels like we just moved in.