I am a wimp. I don't know when or how I became one. It might have started during conception. It might have started when my neighbors little nephew came over and punched me hard in the gut when I was three years old for no apparent reason (maybe my smiley innocent hello irritated him). It might have started when creepy mean boys started being creepy and mean to me in grade school. On and on....travelling through life as if it were some thick jungle filled with poisonous people. Thankfully the mean creepy people no longer loom. The jungle isn't as thick, although the poison has seeped into my own brain and I'm not always able to find the right serum.

Ever since I can remember, I have dreaded the day. I dreaded going to school everyday, sick to my stomach about the whole thing. I dreaded the day in high school....dreaded the day most of my life. I had a brief respite during my self employed massage years before the chronic pain hit and providing/taking care of myself felt like a struggle. I've had plenty of mornings where I get up at the crack of dawn and hike and feel the innocence of just being. It's the duty and responsibility that start weighing down on me. I think being self employed most of my life was the thing that saved me but has also made it more difficult when the going gets tough. I always feel like a round peg trying to push myself into a square hole.

The wimp thing still follows me. When I got rid of most everything and hit the road I took four photographs of me, all grade school pictures. I carried them with me because I needed to look at myself every now and then; when I was panicking and freaking out those stupid little pictures would sometimes soften me and remind me that I was doing this for 'her'. Whoever that little girl was that never truly lived her life and had a chance to become who she was supposed to. I rarely look at those pictures let alone think about it all but today I felt like getting one of those pictures out and confronting the wimp. I wanted to cancel the welder guy coming over to show me about the four saws I recently got. The panic was setting in. I always get more panicky when I know I have to be somewhere with another person. I got that way last week waiting in my car for that guy that sold me the two saws. I was early and he was late. I sat there feeling like I had jumping beans inside my skin and it was all I could do to just wait there for him.

So this morning when he comes to teach me his son will be with him, I can't freak out. I can't cry and talk about how I feel like I'm not going to be able to learn how to use these monsters. That I don't know what the hell I'm doing anymore. I have to be normal and present and act like an adult. It really isn't easy for me to keep putting one foot in front of the other most of the time. I have to shut out a lot of voices. The money thing screams and hisses at me the loudest; I've been as responsible as I know how to be so to ignore it and push on seems unforgivable and deadly. There are judgement voices and defeatist voices. The voice that is critical of everything I do. I find it ironic that for every step forward I make in the art world, I have to take those two steps back. I guess it just isn't an easy road, and if you want the life you think you want you better have a trunk full of emergency gear. It's just not always easy or possible to know what that gear should consist of.

The further I travel as an artist the odder it gets. It seems like this is more of a battle of self than anything else. I am confronting my wimp in ways I never would have imagined. I am the only one in charge of how far I want to travel and if I even want to travel. Ultimately no one does care, not really. I have to care. I have to care enough to keep carrying my fighting self further. Doesn't matter when people are rude, uncaring, selfish or just plain stupid. Doesn't matter those people who try to stand in my way and keep me from going further. If I let them be the reason I give up then they win. I lose. This is my life, they don't have to live with my choices. I am getting it that it really only matters to me if I keep making art. I know I wont keep making art if people stop buying it, I'm just not going to fill up my living space with creative corpses. And so far that isn't the case.

I don't know why everything feels so difficult and scary. I'm tired of it though. Maybe all my worries about falling need to be further explored. Maybe I need to just jump and see where I land. Okay, lets power up the saws.


Daphne said...

I get everything that you wrote. I work for "her" too. And the times that I think about no one else really caring (outside of a few loved ones) I recognize that I'm probably in a depression.

When I'm in a better state of mind I simply don't think about whether I matter to anyone else because it's true about every single being. We can't care about everyone. The best thing that we can do is be good to ourselves and those we love.

Deb said...

Yea, I know that little girl. She still lives in me (hey, she must move around). But you know what, maybe you can cut part of her up after you learn how to operate that saw! I cannot wait to hear how the lesson went.


Chelle said...

Hope all went well with the saw lesson. Keep in mind that you can let those saws gather dust until you're ready to conquer them. Just because you have them doesn't mean you have to use them.

And a great big Happy Birthday to you, and the girl in the photo.

self taught artist said...

...I've been out there cleaning those dirty saws. Giving them some doting so they don't attack me.
thanks for the bday happy. (yesterday was the day, just another one at that)

kate said...

You're a brave girl and what an adorable picture. It's good to carry with you reminders. Every struggle you win makes you stronger.

Clare said...

Hi Self Taught! Your photo really touched me -- and I love that you saved those few photos of yourself -- how beautiful to do things for that part of yourself that didn't get to "become who she was supposed to". She will guide you and let you know what you need. And as far as feeling like a round peg trying to get into a square hole, most creative people feel that way. Learning to trust and embrace that, instead of fighting it, can bring a certain freedom. Hugs.