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Artist Diaries: Maneuvering Through Doubt

As an artist, doubt is almost inevitable

So I hope in this personal anecdote,

you can find a way to continue your pursuit of the impossible.

A Quick Outline

In this blog I am going to touch on how this line of work is almost an invitation for doubt, so I kind of have to admit that people will doubt me no matter what I do. The first and best step for maneuvering is to admit that I feel doubt in the first place, how do I process something if I tell myself I don't feel it? I also had to take a look at the people I surround myself with, do they feed this feeling of doubt or do they soothe it? And last but not least, I reflect on the life I envision myself living and I reflect on my own values. What do I want out of life? What am I living for? What is the life I prayed for? Does being an artist align with these things?


Being an Artist Almost Welcomes Doubt

When I say I am pursuing a degree with a 10% success rate, the doubt is written in between the lines of what people tell me. They say," What are you going to do with that? Don't get too caught up in your passion, get a job and do your hobby afterward," Or just plainly say, "You aren't going to make any money." Or if they know a little something about art then it's, "Nobody wants to buy pictures of you," or, "Nobody wants realistic pictures, more people want abstractions," or my favorite, "Nobody wants this heavy topic on their walls." The unsolicited commentary is inevitable, and to me, it just sounds like a medley of, "Who do you think you are? You aren't special. You are not going to beat those odds!"

People will always doubt before they believe, it's a constant throughout history and even religious texts. It's just easier for people to doubt. Because I would love to tell myself that people shouldn't say things like that to me, because they shouldn't. But they do. There's no way to really control what people feel and how they see what I pursue. All I can control is me. And for me, it helps when I realize that their doubt isn't personal toward me. That in most cases people are just projecting their own view of life onto me. And really, that's none of my business.

There will always be people who shudder at the idea of someone living a life that they want to live and not a life they're supposed to live. Artists and creatives in general are the perfect people to project that idea on because we don't necessarily care about the limits put upon us. We see them and we say "So what?" we don't fold or assimilate. We make a way.

I Had to Admit to Myself That I Feel Doubt

It's natural to feel things like sadness, jealousy, or even doubt. Covering those things up with false confidence or projections doesn't do anything for us in the long run.

Self-help culture has pushed us away from being honest with ourselves. We tend to demonize our feelings when they aren't positive and push them away, only making them come up in ways we don't even recognize. Further causing us to not be self-aware and to project.

See, I don't see my doubt as a weakness or something I need to distance myself from. I've always found strength in the things I go through. I tend to flip them and process them through my writing or my paintings.

I am nowhere near a therapist, so take what I am about to say very lightly.

I have learned to process how I feel, and in order to process a feeling I have to admit to myself that I feel it and explore. That means writing it down explicitly and reflecting on it. I ask myself "why" five times, to truly understand the root of it all. Then I let myself sit in how I'm feeling for a maximum of two days, being completely honest about it. Then I figure out ways to pick myself up and to be more aware of my triggers going forward.

My triggers for doubt are easy to recognize now, Social media being the biggest culprit. I compare my journey, and then I doubt it. To combat that I remind myself that God didn't put billions of people on this earth to be the same, therefore my journey is not gonna be like the next person's. Other times I let myself feel a little "hater-ish," let it out for a limited time, and move on.

The point is, that I don't lie to myself about what I feel. Nor do I punish myself for feeling it.

A Good Support System

In the past, I was always friends with people who put me down. I didn't value myself, so I only surrounded myself with people who affirmed that belief. This led to me being embarrassed about the path I was called to follow. I was always made to feel foolish, to even believe that I could do something great, or anything at all with my art.

(And best believe they always had the nerve to want a free/discounted picture).

And sometimes, the lack of support isn't always obvious. It can be dressed up in backhanded compliments or shade. It can hide behind fake positivity and slick remarks. Or even the off-putting gut feeling. Always trust that. Of course, talk with people first, but if all that persists, let them go.

Being an artist is a journey with so many ups, downs, stagnant, and high points; it's tumultuous. It's hard enough pursuing something different on your own, there's no reason to make it worse by keeping people around who don't support or believe in you. (No that doesn't mean surrounding yourself with "yes-men")

I've learned that having people around who let me be excited about the opportunities I got, and who saw value in the new content I was posting (even if it got 2 likes) were the people I needed to be around. The people who keep me accountable, and truly have my best interest at heart. For me, my support system consists of my family, my partner, and the friends I've made along the way.

I feel safe when talking about my journey with them. I feel good enough to discuss the high and low points, and to be there for their journey as well.

Remember to always focus on the ones who do support you instead of the ones who don't. That's a mistake I used to make, and sometimes I still do. It's easier to focus on the hurt than the peace, but that's another conversation.

The point is, sometimes it's best to distance yourself from the people who push you down and to treasure the ones who lift you up.

What is the Life I Envision For Myself?

The lyrics to Hollywood by Victoria Monet & Earth Wind and Fire ring in my mind:

What do you live for

what are you here for

what do you breathe for

what do you stand for

What would you die for

What will you leave when you're gone

I ask myself these questions often in regard to my life.

I wanna speak to the Black and Brown girls who struggle to see their beauty.

To the Black and Brown boys who struggle to find strength in their vulnerabilities.

I wanna speak to the kids in the ghetto.

To those who struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts.

To those who feel alone.

To those who want to find peace of mind

I wanna show the value of creatively expressing yourself

I wanna use portions of what I make for those who live on the street

I want to help and heal through my artwork.

I want to truly make a difference.

I want to make a statement, I want my artwork to make people think, to open their minds, to help them love and understand each other.

Community, humanity, and togetherness are what I want to contribute to this world through my hands.

I just feel like God gave me this gift, and set out a path for me that is clear to see.

I have prayed for a long time and I am always led back to my artwork.

I hope this entry helped you in some way.

I know all of our journeys are different, and I hope one day we all find true peace in that.

That our lives aren't going to be the same.

That we all have our own purpose on this earth.

We have to learn to live for ourselves and do that unapologetically.

And remember, that it's a process.

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1 comentário

09 de jul.

Howja like todo lottsa gobbsa

artsy-fartsy after our demise?

yooNeye definately can;

we can do anything and

everyth'n VanGogh's 'starry sky'

for E T E R N I T Y, gorgeous!!

Here's how, miss adorable:

● ●

Love you. Cya soon.

Dominus Vobiscum

(Latin: peace BwU)

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