Just the other day as I was working through my childhood wounds around creativity, I had realized the source of my frustration and dissatisfaction with my artwork–and the source for this statement,
“It’s just not good enough.”
I had assumed expectations and responsibilities as a child to be a masterful and competent adult at, well, EVERYTHING.
Cooking, cleaning, communications, etc., I was expected to have the competencies of a 21-year-old (or any other obscure adult age) when I was only 8.
These expectations extended well beyond the chores and obligations I had at home.
Now 27, I believed I must have the skills of a 27-year-old master artist.
(Since I totally know how skillful a 27-year-old master artist needs to be as I’ve been 27 all my life. Aha, no.)
Upon reflecting on my experience as an artist, I have discovered from within my own inner creative child, who looks to be around 12 years old.
She’s accompanied with a similar artistic skill set at that age, give or take a couple of experiences as an adult in my college and professional years.
Why 12 years old?
Around that age, I was heavily encouraged NOT to indulge in any artistic activity. Thus my inner artist’s skills have been frozen at age 12.
But I have been expecting her to perform at mastery level at MY age.
It’s no wonder I have been so frustrated and heartbroken every time I’ve tried to create something new.
“I’m supposed to be as good as my age right now. As an adult. Why can’t I get these drawings done and created right away like the way they should be at my age?”
Realizing the burden and stress I’ve caused my inner artist, I’ve released this expectation from her and now meet her at HER level.
“Hello inner artist,
You are a 12-year-old artist in a 27-year-old body.”
It’s actually a very humbling experience to meet my inner creative child as she is, with limitations and experiences that are unique to her.
Now that I recognize her limitations and her capacities as an artist, I can better gauge and assign her projects that are more suitable to her capabilities as well as give her challenges that I know she can more easily accomplish. (And feel excited about!)
I’ve push her way too hard to meet certain expectations and goals when I haven’t allowed nor assisted her in developing those skills to meet them.
Hence the constant push and pause in my creative process and flow.
She pushes to create, then pauses to get the rest she needs.
And it’s usually in this pause that my adult professional side comes out and attacks her for being lazy and incapable of meeting adult responsibilities and deadlines.
It’s like expecting a person to run 10 miles their first time when they haven’t built up the muscles and stamina to run 1 mile yet.
It’s not humanly possible.
And we are human beings.
So be kind to yourself.
Go inside and find your inner creative child.
Find her and see where she is currently, in skill, experience and capacity. See her for who she truly is right now.
Has she experienced enough, seen enough, practiced enough to create that project you want her to make right now? Immediately?
If not, back track a little. Find something that would suit her level first. And slowly increase the level of difficulty suitable to her capabilities and needs.
(It’s like a video game. Select the level suitable to your current skills. Select too high and you may just want to throw your game out the window.)
It was hard for me to accept my limitations as an artist. And as a human being.
I’ve believed for so long that as long as I put my heart, mind, and soul into it, I am capable of anything.
I still believe this.
But in order to be that person I wish to be, I have to recognize and accept who I am as I am now.
By meeting myself as I am, I can better gauge what I can or can not do in this moment, work on improving skills I know I would love to have that are suitable to my current skill level, assess and enjoy the creative process allowed to me even more, and feel less frustrated with my advancement and progression as a budding artist.
I’m still internally a young artist working towards being a “professional adult” after all.
How about you?
P.S. A gentle reminder that today was set to be the last day to register for my artist alley course, Artist Alley for Beginners. Because I’ve been sending reminders later in the day, I will extend the course registration date to Monday, October 8th, 2018 at 10:00 PM, so those who receive this later will have a chance to sign up.
Please note that I currently do not know if I will open this course again. Thus, if you’d appreciate organized and guided assistance for your artist alley journey from me and the 3-year experience I have as a convention artist, this will be the last known time for which I will have this course open.
Thank you again to all who have signed up so far! Your purchase not only assists you on your journey, but it allows me to pay to take care of myself as I have been precariously recovering creatively since the beginning of this year.
From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely thank you for your support.