I have always been a worrier. I've given up trying to figure out where that came from. One of my earliest memories of worry is of being no more than five years old, if that, and becoming overly worried about going blind. I don't know if I had just seen a Helen Keller movie or what, but I was sick with worry. I was crying and my dad asked me what was wrong and after much coaxing on his part I ran to his lap, shaking I could barely spit it out as I sobbed that I was afraid I was going to go blind one day. He laughed out of stunned disbelief and relief I guess that it wasn't something more serious. I was inconsolable though.

My worrying grew as did I. I was sick a lot as a kid, always getting tonsillitis, mumps, chickenpox, strep throat, plagued with ear problems, headaches....on and on. Being highly energetic and sick a lot was a bad mix. While in bed, while on the sofa sipping 7up and eating crackers with cheese to sooth a fluish gut I would fixate and worry about the worst. I remember once when I had a particularly bad bout of the mumps I ran upstairs to the bathroom and being just a child, had never passed out before. I guess having a fever and running upstairs did me in, I started to black out in front of my mom. I was looking at myself in the mirror screaming, "I'm going blind!!!!" as the dark blotches of unconsciousness filled into one dark pool. I dropped to the floor. I had fevers so high I hallucinated and freaked my mom out in the middle of the night talking about that woman with a gun trying to kidnap me. I hated being a kid. I didn't think I would ever grow up.

Then as I got older, I started worrying that I wouldn't finish school. Wouldn't make it. Somehow I slid through the cracks. To this day I don't know how I graduated when I never took the social science test on the Constitution, it was a pre-requisite for graduating. How I passed when I skipped every day, went half a day/worked the other and graduated half a year early is beyond me. I always worried I wouldn't graduate.

When I started drinking I worried less. I only worried about what I did the night before, many times I felt so bad I couldn't even worry. I moved myself out to Arizona and worried how I was going to make it. Somehow I did. I had a few more health scares, and lots more worries about what I did the night before. Almost twenty more years of those worries. What a slow learner.

When my massage/work pain kicked in I worried about how I would support myself. I won't forget that once in my 20's I only had $20 to my name and no credit cards. That was the sickest feeling. It isn't easy to be a mess, eventually you have to pull yourself together and crawl out of it. Do whatever it takes. It's draining fore it is a heavy force that takes much effort to crawl out from. Many times in my life I have crawled away only to find myself under it again and again.

So tonight, as I lay in bed with three hours of sleep under my belt I finally get up. The cloud of worry passing over me, I decide to get up away from it. I keep pushing worry away. I worry I will never use my saws because I still don't have a table for them. There are many things I have to do and fix and figure out, sometimes getting things done is like pulling teeth. Tod is busy trying to get his own life working again, it's difficult when I am a do it now/help me now and he is slower and much more easy going, it isn't his shit to worry about anyhow. I worry too much about having ALL THIS STUFF. Every time I go get more goods for art I have to acclimatize to it. After the day of getting, the day of cleaning ~ comes the day of putting it somewhere. Today I will have to sort it and find a place for it. The excitement gets shadowed by what on earth am I doing with all this stuff...what if.....what if. I have no choice it seems but to keep going forward. I've made it that way. I have worked hard the last month or two not to complain on the blog. Focus on what is happening that is useful to me rather than bog anyone, myself included, down. I think it is a delicate dance, we each have our own personal races to run. The bigger picture not even known until after the fact. This isn't just about me making art and trying to find a place for it/me to make a living from. I feel like I am in the thick of it so I can't even see the forest for the trees.

Maybe the whole point is to lose myself. To just let go. Maybe that is why all those years were spent getting black out drunk. I was trying to lose myself, just going about it the wrong way. That isn't the right kind of losing yourself. I'm trying to lose myself to my true SELF. It is a constant hammering away of the thick protective wall, the sheath of alabaster that covers people like me who thought the self needed to be sturdy, tough, resistant, a blow fish if you will... puffed up to scare people away. When in fact, a strong self is one that is flexible, a lose clump of atoms that are adaptable and malleable. I'm gonna go lose myself now in the basement.


Steve Kane said...

Letting go of all that bullshit that everybody tells you that you should be worrying about is the key. It ain't an easy thing to do and I have not managed it yet myself.

But I'm getting there, I think. I am looking forward to the day when I wake up and watch all those people scurrying around and fretting about sales targets and productivity projections and how they are going to win that big contract and what so-and-so has been saying about them to such-and-such and oh-my-god-why-aren't-I-married-yet and which z-list celebrities are fucking each other and... and chuckling to myself because I'm not trying to keep up with them, am not comparing myself to them and don't give a damn about all that rubbish that reduces them all to gibbering wrecks on Prozac. That will be a fine day, won't it?

self taught artist said...

it will.
what a great comment steve.
worry is weird, you worry about things that would never occur to me to worry about.
wonder what else people worry about...share you worries here folks. its free, its fast, its here and now!

Steve Kane said...

The only thing I really worry about is failing to fulfil my potential and that I will waste my life worrying about crap that isn't worth worrying about and letting all that distract me from what I should be doing. Or something.

I'm also worried about the number of headaches I've been having recently. I think it is stress brought on by my crappy job. Sadly, worrying about money prevents me from walking out.

So you see, I haven't quite let go yet.

San said...

What do I worry about? Don't get me started, Paula. When I was a kid, I used to worry that people would die. When I got a little older, I worried that I didn't exist. Then I worried that nothing existed, that it was all an illusion (which, actually it is, kind of.) And when I didn't have anything to worry about--when things felt a little too perfect--I'd become anxious. So I worried about that too.

self taught artist said...

san...you worried that nothing existed and it was all an illusion. it is isn't it...what else IS it? interesting worries, thanks for sharing and making me feel normal :)

Clare said...

Hi Self Taught! First off, I absolutely love this line that you wrote: "I'm trying to lose myself to my true SELF" -- this is really, really beautiful!!! It blew me away, so I'm sitting here basking in its warmth. And second of all, I can totally relate to worrying. Oh, yes. But it sounds like you've done an awesome job going forward -- I like how you phrased that. And it's so true about how it's hard to see the bigger picture when we're in the middle of it -- but looking back, it's easy to see how things fall into place and lead us to where we're supposed to be in life. I love your honesty in this post and the gentleness you're giving yourself -- this is very cool.

Bob Johnson said...

Man , has anybody ever told you you worry too much? When I get in my worrying mood, I ask myself, whats the worst that could happen, I could loose my job, not find any money to buy food, starve and then die, there, that wasn't so bad, I think it lost something in the translation, We all borrow worry, the older and hopefully wiser I get the less I worry about what people think, and therefore have more control over my life and less worry, if you don't like this comment, tough!

self taught artist said...

i dont worry about what people think much either. i do worry that people don't understand me, but whatever, i don't understand me.
i like your comments bob johnson. you still a funny man :)

self taught artist said...

thanks clare, as always your comments are a breeze of freshness and lightness.

Bob Johnson said...

I came back cause I was thinking of my comment(sposed to be a joke, tough, I should have put at the end of tough "cause I don't care", like I dont care about what other people think) make any sense? so as I was thinking about this, I was thinking you can't go back because it looks like you care what other people think when you just said in the comment you don't care, but then you hit the nail on the head when you said, you don't think people will understand you, so your right, I was thinking you might not understand me so I came back to elaborate what I meant in the comment. If you understand what I just wrote, your just as crazy as me and I understand you.