I have to post this picture first, and then I will explain. This girl had big dreams. Well, she still does.
My intent today was to discuss how people who suffer with depression and anxiety need to share their experiences. I, personally, have always been skeptical of our healthcare systems and institutions, so I’ve never seen a psychiatrist or taken any kind of psych meds. I’m not here to say that’s the correct path for anyone, including myself, but here I am.
So I thought, hey, I’ll start posting stories about various experiences on my blog.
And! A big part of this blog is to share my art. As you see in the photo above, I have all these books full of sketches that very few people have seen. I should mention that this sketch doesn’t show my technical skill, and I know it’s kind of fuzzy, but the subject matter is appropriate.
But, in planning this blog post, I unearthed something else–a deeper story. A prologue, if you will.
Digging for the sketch was its own walk down memory lane. Once I found it, I prepared it and took a photo with my digital camera. And, once that was done, I put the SD card in my computer to save it and edit it. Now it was time to decide where to file it away. I was vaguely aware that I had an art folder which already contained some pictures of sketches, and found it quickly.
And then I saw this photo of me. I had forgotten about this picture–hadn’t looked at this whole folder for ages. (My sketches, both digitally and physically, have moved from house to house over the years, always tucked away for later.) The date shows it was taken in 2007. In one of those typical flood-of-memories moments, I remembered having this exact same intent–to start posting my sketches online–all those years ago. I had intended to use this photo for my first post, the file was even named “opener.” And there would be a tag line: Time to unpack all this crap! Something along those lines. A very ERMAGERD style photo.
Well, with that bizarre realization out of the way, I was trying to decide how to label and organize my sketches.
Then I realized, looking at the thumbprints, that I had also already taken a picture of this sketch. I had taken a picture of every single sketch from four different sketch books, and labeled them so that the cover of the book and all the pages within would have the same name. It was like I was repeating myself, and I felt like I had let myself down. Like I wasted all this time.
What happened all those years ago? I had done all this work… but I never put my stuff out there.
Well, I have to admit some things about myself. This still happens when I approach a new venture or a way of expressing myself. First there are the normal, expected reactions of anxiety, trepidation, doubt. Then there’s the over-analyzing; wanting my work to be portrayed in a certain way, a way that is always too ambitious and then I give up. And then… beyond all that… is the very foolish and embarrassing part.
I always wanted to be famous. I mean, don’t we all? Most of us? It’s not just any kind of fame though. I have always wanted to make an impact. Make a difference. Not anonymously, though–look I’m a little neurotic, ok?
So, when I considered taking on a new project of any kind, I would weigh it against the possibility of… you know… becoming a BIG DEAL. And I would become paranoid that this was not the path that led to being a BIG DEAL. It would overcome my mind, rattle my common sense, until all these scenarios were spinning me in circles and I had to retreat.
It took until I was 30 to get past this notion. It took until today. These obsessions and delusions got me through hard times when I was younger. I built castles in the sky so that I would never give up hope. And now I am picking apart what was true and what wasn’t–about everything. About myself, the world, the nature of existence, my purpose, my future, my concept of success. In a way we are all going through that process. Hopefully I made a little progress today.
So I want to close out with a mantra. If you want to try something, anything, don’t over-analyze what might or might not happen. Don’t let the scenarios play out until they drive you crazy. I mean, use some common sense, of course, but too much is too much. Don’t cripple yourself like I did. Right now, instead of running scenarios, I am just looking at that open door.
So that’s the mantra. Just focus on the open door.