My Fears

I am having problems getting going after my return from the vacation. Some of it is that I am still thrown off–and terribly disappointed, wounded–from something personal that happened at the end of last year with people I had been sharing my creations with, people whom I thought were friends, safe. I may be mistaken, but now I believe there were things going on that I wasn’t aware of and that were purposely kept from me, and frankly I feel like a little child who was told to take her toys and go home. It was the first time in years I had opened up like I did, and boy do I feel it was a mistake. Right now I can’t see doing that again for some time.

Part of my problem is in my head. I need to clean up my workspace, and that is frustrating because I have so little space–I want big tables, I need to spread out! But that’s not possible for the time being, and when I look at issues of Where Women Create and see what some make do with, I know very well that’s my head coming up with excuses. I could do it, I’m just afraid.

So, I pulled out Kelly Rae Roberts’ Taking Flight book this evening and browsed through it again. And I thought, why not go ahead and write down my fears? I know from therapy for a previous experience that those things one thinks one cannot say hold power over you. You can say anything–and you MUST find a way to say those things you think you can’t. Otherwise they rule you.

I was going to write them down in a journal, but then I thought that there was no better place to do this than in my private blog. An oxymoron, I know, but no one who knows me “in real life”, personally, knows about this blog, so it is private in that sense.

Right.

I’m afraid that what I make will be cliched and derivative. I’m afraid that everyone who knows me, beginning with my husband and family and ending with my friends and anyone they know, will think it’s boring or pointless. I’m afraid that people who know me will pity me for wasting my time with this. The best thing my husband has ever said about anything I’ve made is, “You could flog this for something” (about my Magic book). When I think about this whole creative thing, it really brings it home to me in a way that has never been so apparent before how much I crave and require others’ approval.

And really it’s down to two people–my husband and my mother.

Regarding my husband (we’ve been married 15 years), much of the last few years has been establishing an identity for myself that does not include seeking his approval for things. (I am sure he would be shocked if he read this–this is entirely my problem, not something on his part.) I do admit that I am deeply disappointed that he displays no curiosity or interest in this new aspect of my life, but he’s never even asked why I find this rewarding or what I enjoy about it or why I feel so compelled to do it and collect all this stuff. Just no interest. And I refuse to grovel after it and offer something that wasn’t asked for . . . but it’s not my nature and it’s really hard to not seek approval. Why isn’t my own approval enough?

As for my mom, who has recently embarked on creative explorations of her own, I feel that if I did these creative things over family stuff, she would disapprove and think it was selfish. I don’t know why–perhaps because she never did anything like that when I was growing up and saved her painting for retirement–but she has always to me seemed to be very clear about her duty and responsibility, and to not live up to that was due to laziness of character or selfishness. Not that I would neglect my family! But something makes me uncomfortable, maybe something instilled in me. Some of it has to do with women’s roles, I know.

I guess that’s mainly it. It has been a little disappointing how my family has reacted. My cousin who lives in town has never once asked me about what I’m working on or done recently either–no interest whatsoever. Finally I got tired of showing her my stuff since I might as well have told her when the last time I’d gone to the bathroom was for all the interest she had in it. It definitely makes one unsure about the worthiness of one’s creations. No one that I’ve ever made anything for has ever come back to me and asked for something else for themselves or a friend, and many things that I’ve made for people I know have never been used.

So I have to find a path where my own approval–or at least license to play–is all that’s required, regardless of what anyone else thinks. That’s hard, especially for a woman! It’s not what I wanted to have to do. But I guess it is what is required. If I turned around tomorrow and sold all my stuff on eBay, I’d feel i’d cut a part of my brain out of my head, thrown half of my self in the trash. I can’t do that. I have to find a way to not need or hope for others’ permission, where my permission is all that’s important. Big job.

About Elizabeth Ann's Studio

Artist. Musician. Mother. Wife. Me.
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