Am I Good Enough?
Each & every damn darn time I complete an article I get a sudden case of the dreaded 'amigoodenoughs'. Let me reiterate:
Every. Single. Time.
My brain works overtime into this ri.dic.u.lous. sort of insane frenzy... Am I good enough? Is it innovative enough? Is it clear enough? Did I forget something? Is there something new for people to learn? Is it supportive? Is it pretty? Am I sure I am done? Should I have added another piece? Did I proofread it well enough? Is it original and creative? Is it at all inspiring? Can anyone do this? Is it too bizarre? Is it too common? Are the color palettes pleasing? Are the pieces balanced? What will people get from it? Did I stretch my wings? Will the editors like it? Will it fit the issue they have in mind? What if it doesn't? What if all the work was for nothing? OMG maybe I should start over. This isn't good at all. This is the worst piece I have written. How boring am I? Am I good enough? ... and it begins all over again. You know, that vicious circle thing.
Nothing is guaranteed. You may write a perfectly pleasing piece - it could be the nobel prize of art - and it just may get cut because it doesn't fit. Granted, this has never yet to happen to me - but I still worry it will. Financially, I have to place the majority of my time (or keep learning to) in things that I will profit from. I need to make a living.. and while rejection doesn't bother me (much).. the idea of having wasted my time... THAT really friggin' gets to me. Scares me. Scares the living bejesus outta me.. which triggers all the normal anxieties any one of us may have... and triggers my mood swings. Yikes.
Earlier this year, was the first time I dropped the ball on an article. (i am stillso, so, very sorry pokey) Mentally? I was in a bad, bad place. Physically? Not so good either. I was overwhelmed by life - overwhelmed by pain - overwhelmed with work - overwhelmed with home - you get the idea... and when I couldn't complete the task at hand, I beat myself up for it. I still do. It has and will always bother me.. that from time to time, this disease gets the best of me. I don't want to be 'that' girl. Ya know? Things hit rock bottom for me this year... and I picked myself up. I have spent the year focused on getting that proverbial 'all' under control, while battling some life changes that would make a normal person crazy.
Still with me? I really do have a point here, I promise!
So I stopped writing, I didn't commit to very much. I have found strength I forgot I had. I started over again, and began writing once more. When I completed my latest article, (which you should hopefully see in Somerset Studio next spring .. hello part deux) I was actually a bit surprised that my brain went right back to that way-too-friggin-rambly-insecure-mess you saw above. Talk about frustrating. Like a trooper though, I packed it up - shipped it out and hoped for the best. It is a good article, I think. Yet -- is it good enough? I really get the most from inspiring someone to do something that they didn't believe they could -- I guess, like any of us... I want to know I contribute, that I have value - and that maybe, just maybe... someone else will gain something from that 'thing' I so loooove to do.
When the nasty lil thoughts hit me, I remembered something - a letter I received after my first article with Cloth, Paper, Scissors. It wasn't the normal, ooo i like it... it wasn't from someone I knew complimenting me... this was a stranger, who tracked me down.. and sent me the most touching note I have ever received about my writing. It made me cry. She gave me permission to share it years ago, and I hadn't... but I think today I will. I would never post a private letter without permission.
I know this post is long. I know you may be sick of reading, I am asking that you continue doing so... pretty please?
I wanted to write to let you know how much your article in Cloth, Paper, Scissors has helped my 30 year old daughter. She suffered an episode very similar to a stroke after the birth of her 3rd child last year and had to have surgery on her brain. She has limited use of her right side and her speech is slowly coming back. I have been trying to get her to play with some form of art or another (I am a cloth doll maker and jill of some trades) to help her heal and when I read your article I knew that I could get her to try her hand with this. Her brain injury occurred on her left side and I knew that if I could show her how much fun she could have just trying some of the techniques she would find the confidence to try even more artistic endeavors. One thing that we have been told is that the right side of the brain can compensate inadequacies (sp?) that happen to the injured left side and I knew that this was an art form that she would be able to do.
She was a hair stylist by trade and color was her specialty yet she never felt that she was "artistic". Today she tried the first three steps in making a "Skinny Book" and even applied these techniques to some watercolor paper postcards. We have taken a break until next weekend to let things dry. I truly want to thank you for the great article with steps that made her feel like there are "no mistakes". She is her own worst critic and with limitations put on her now her self confidence and self esteem has been waning. It was so fabulous to see her eyes light up as each new layer of play was completed.
Biggest of hugs to you, my dear!
I of course, replied.. through tears.. the follow up note from her read as so...
Thank you so much for writing and by all means share my note with anyone and everyone that you would like to. You have a gift, my girl, and you were correct in saying that being "different" is one of your blessings. Know that you touch more lives daily by creating the works that you do.
When Morana first had her AVM episode they told us not to expect her to live. A mother's worst nightmare, I can assure you. The blessings bestowed on us were many and we continue to be blessed in her healing process. One of the many has been how you and your art have touched our lives.
When Morana was growing up she considered the art that I did daily just "something" her mom did. When she was a little girl she drew daily but after a bad experience in school where they made her conform to what "they wanted" her to create she quit drawing, doing so only when assigned.
With this injury being on the left side of her brain I knew that if I could show her that there were no rules I could stir the right side of her brain to react positively. I have always believed that art has healing qualities and I can already see this in her attitude and outlook about her life in general.
Your article for Cloth Paper Scissors was just what we both needed to begin the baby steps in her art therapy. I will be sending some pics next weekend to show you our progress.
I will also be sharing with Cloth Paper Scissors what your article has stirred in our lives. As "great" as it is to get "published" they (CPS) were the lucky ones in having you do such a wonderful article for them.
Biggest hugs to you, my dear!
See, this was my long-winded way of reminding you that despite our deepest reservations, despite our inner critics, despite what has seemingly become routine to us -- through the good times, and the worst of times ... we touch people. Our lives are all somehow connected, and each of us - has impacted someone in ways we may never know. In ways bigger than us.
Just by being who we are.
Just by sharing what we know.
So, goodbye, for now my-woefully-annoying-lil-insecurities .. I am reminded and trust that everything happens for a reason... once again. How many times will I learn this lesson in my lifetime? And Kimber? Thank you, for still being such an inspiration to me. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.