October 22, 2009
Honestly, Really, Truly
"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans. The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too"
-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
I've been painting, writing and organizing a new body of photographic work.
Yesterday, I wanted to throw in the towel. I'd had enough of cold weather, of bad tasting water, isolation and the long travel distance to the city. But in reality the real problem was that I'd had enough of feeling like there was no point in doing what I was doing and that I may as well give up.
My inner critic dogs my every step. 'Oh that's terrible', 'God, it's going to take you forever to get good at this, if you even get good'. 'You'll probably always be mediocre' 'Why bother trying. Just give up, go home and get a normal job' 'You are hurting everyone you know.' 'Everyone will see you as a failure because you don't work a real job and you're not earning any money' 'You're not working hard enough' and so on and so on ad nauseum. I don't know where this inner critic comes from but it drives me nuts.
At that crucial point where I was ready to give up Hazel Dooney published her blog post A Point Just Passed. It turned me back up the right way again with a realization that I need to commit to my dreams even more than I already have. Until now, there has always been an escape plan, the opportunity to save losing face but I know from experience that until one fully commits it is true that there is hesitancy. An unwillingness to give 100% to the work just in case it goes wrong and someone (being me in this case) looks like a fool. I want to pass that point of no return now.
Over the last few years I've gradually committed more and more to this dream. I've worked hard. I've had many successes. But one thing is missing. Honesty. The honesty that comes with confidence I don't yet have.
Art requires honesty and that scares me. If I'm to be truly honest I might stick out like a sore thumb. People might realize I don't conform to what is normal. I might make mistakes publicly, I might change my mind and then look inconsistent. People might criticize my actions. So many 'if's'. But if I am to commit to this (and I am) I have to be honest even if I'm not confident.
I want to be an artist. I want to work with new ideas and concepts. I want to be a writer. I want to say what I think. I want to make a difference. I want to do what I want to do. And I want to be good at it. Most of all, I just want to be me. I'm only here on earth for a short time and I want to make what I do count.
Conversations I've had with various people - actually everyone, especially myself - have left me feeling awkward and uncomfortable because I wasn't being completely honest. I'd tell people that I'm looking for a job here in Berlin or I'd dodge the truth and joke that I got lost on my way home. I'm not here to get a job. I am here to give my dreams a go. Kaulsdorf is the distraction free work space. Berlin is the dream city, swirling with creative energy that I go to for inspiration and ideas.
Honestly, I am in Berlin to be the only thing I can be. An artist.
Images: Autumn in Kaulsdorf-Berlin isn't bad really.