Believe Me

I’ve been slow to understand that a belief in ones self and abilities is the foundation to everything worthwhile. And I mean slow- I’m sixty-two. It would’ve been great to figure this shit out when I was a nineteen year old art major, I might’ve gotten somewhere with it. But I saw myself falling into this debilitating pattern of believing that I didn’t have the “Real” talent or skill, or confidence. But others? Sure. They must be more, know more, smarter. I could not see myself as a professional artist. So I didn’t take my art seriously; including the art education I had received, sorry mom, dad, or any other talent I may have, like singing. I coulda gone places, I’m pretty sure now. This belief pattern has stifled years of the opportunity to build on a creative, artistic life. Drat. And thanks for nothing, hindsight.

In High school I was put into an art majors program. Upon my graduation my art teacher wrote on my transcript that I need to pursue this, that he didn’t want to see me become a Sunday Painter. I didn’t become a Sunday Painter. But maybe I should have, at least I would’ve painted once a week!

After graduation I went on to Banff School of Fine Art in Alberta for a summer session. When my parents asked would I like to enrol for a year, I said – no. I had a (fricken) boyfriend back home. I still get nauseous when I regurgitate this memory. Not the boyfriend, at the time he was great, but, me turning this opportunity down turns my stomach to this day.

An aside to that story: My boyfriend was also an art student and we went on to college together that September. In our second year he was accepted on a student exchange to Florida for the year. I wasn’t and stayed behind at our Vancover Island College. So, there ya go.

During my solo second year at college towards a degree in Fine Art, I became involved in theatre. I sang for the first time on stage, I joined a band that had a loyal following. When then it came time to continue on to University to complete my BFA, I bailed. Because I met a man. Oh to go back and slap my young self.

But I continued with sabotage. I was a champ. Every move I made where I had the potential to launch myself in a worthwhile endeavour, to finish my degree, to paint madly and mount a show, to sing, I’d never take the bait. I always felt I wasn’t enough, that I was an imposter, or that relationship was more important.

This has been my life’s pattern.

So, what troubles me is why we lack belief in ourselves. Part of us knows we are qualified or talented or skilled, but some other part of us says naw, you better step aside and let the other more qualified, talented, skilled do the thing. Even when the road before us is clear. I know I’m not alone in this, it’s a universal neurosis. How can we be our own worst enemy? If anyone should be rooting for us it should be – US! If you can’t find a supportive friend in yourself, then where? Who? Why do we self sabotage? It’s what I did throughout my entire youth, my twenties ….and thirties……and….ok, my entire life thus far.

That pattern stops here. Ok, it’s a process. I’m continuing to work through it, and I am making inroads into what has been blocking me.

I’m asking more questions than having answers for because I’m still searching for the answers. I had mentioned somewhere earlier in a blog post that I’ve been working through The Artists Way book with the goal to tease out some of these answers. It’s been instrumental for me. I still continue with writing my morning pages, a year now. I think by doing that work it has brought me to this point where I can see things a bit more accurately. It’s enabled me to stand stronger in my convictions to recover what I tossed mindlessly aside, who I am, in trade for not being abandoned. To please.

I’ve maybe disclosed more than anyone probably cares to hear, but it’s all about self reclamation here. Creative Recovery. I need to hear it. Am I exceptionally talented? Not at all. And that’s what’s important for me to understand. That it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you think I am or not. But the work I do is important. It matters.

Am I too late? No, there is no time limit, there is no age limit. It’s about picking up where I left off, except this time I have intention. An awareness about myself. Finally. But I have it, so that’s a start. That’s a good start.

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Recovering Creative

I live on a tiny island on the Canadian west coast with about 300 of my neighbours. I am a Red Seal chef and certified baker (retired), an artist, an amateur photographer. I write, (unpublished so hesitate to call myself A Writer) sing, and can bang out some reasonable sounding chords on a guitar. And I grow a veggie garden. Older, wiser, and armed with insights and experience, I am on a conscience pursuit of reclaiming my creative life. I see it as a career change. Next level.

9 thoughts on “Believe Me

  1. I hear your struggle and understand it as I go through my creative days and long unmotivated/uninspired periods. Looking at the things I have done and thought it’s not very good and hide it away. I know how talented you are, I have seen your art work, pottery and listened to you sing and play the guitar, you are amazing and I am envious LOL. It is never too late to unleash your creativity and let it flow. Forget the hindsight and start from where you are, Love you sis!

  2. I’ve always embraced my creative side but for me my calling was/is as a nurse. I do understand the self sabatagoe and the questioning of one’s self in relationship to the creative process. It’s hard to “let go” and give it wings. It’s easy to say it’s no good and quit. I appreciated your reflective look back and your desire to change. Change isn’t easy but with consistent effort it can occur. Good luck with living in the moment with your creativity.

    1. Thanks! It’s a gift to know ones calling and have the good sense to heed and follow, you’re one of the fortunate ones! But you’ve piqued my curiosity as to the creativity that you embrace. Btw, I still have difficulty accessing your site 🙂

      1. Oh gosh. So sorry you can’t find the site. Try this with a copy and paste or go into reader and search sites for equipoise
        I have sewn clothes for decades and took up quilting about a dozen years ago, tried my hand at various styles of it. I’ve badly dabbled in watercolours and make cards and scrapbook. I make unique person specific wall hangings dictated by instinct. I restore old wood and love working with old photos. So I dabble in lots and perhaps if I spent more time in any one thing I’d either get bored or get better but mostly I’m pretty content with my creative time. And yes I heeded my calling and 43 years later still know it was what I was meant to do.

  3. It is a universal problem. I guess we’ve been programmed by society, media or even our families to doubt our worth. But the fun part is, anything that has been learnt can be unlearnt if you do the work. And once you unlearn all the negative beliefs, you don’t pick them up again because you know better now.

    1. Yes, I agree it is. And we are shaped and influenced by media, society and family. Experiences too will play a dominant role in how we ultimately view ourselves. If there was trauma somewhere inflicted in our past, whether intentionally or intended, these experiences can be buried down. We can believe we weren’t really harmed by it, that we weren’t truly impacted; only to have it, over time, release a different truth to us. We find that these experiences do colour and charge many if not all our life choices, relationship choices, career choices. That self love and self belief have in fact been highjacked, sabotaged, by even that one experience. It becomes a deeper analysis to find the where, what and why. You’re correct in saying then comes the work, then the shedding (unlearning), then gratitude and moving forward. Life is for learning, but I think it’s more about learning who we are.

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