I thought after my art show was over Saturday I would be able to sleep again. I wouldn’t be tossing and turning all night thinking about everything I should be doing. Sunday night I blamed it on being too hot. I turned on all the fans, opened the windows, and tossed the covers to the other side of the bed. Then I was too cold.
I couldn’t sleep. My mind was racing. I was full of ideas and self inflicted deadlines. I started to worry. Panic is a better word. I tried to slow my breathing, meditating on the fact there was nothing I could do about it right now. Then I started thinking about how I don’t meditate enough.
Perfectionism was creeping up on me and stealing my sleep. I hate that. So I did what most people tell you to do when you have too many thoughts in your head, I made a list. It was a two page list of things. I stared at it for a moment. How am I supposed to get all of these things done? How?
I’ve gotten really good at telling other people no. Most creative people know we have to say no sometimes. We don’t really like to say no to other people, but we have to, to get shit done. To finish that album, to memorize a script, to get ready for that gallery showing, we’ve been told over and over again it’s ok to say no to other people. We need more time and the only way to get it is to be selfish sometimes.
We overwhelm ourselves with things we think we should be doing. It’s not rocket science why we do this. We see other people succeeding and we desperately want that. We want to be acknowledged for what we do, so we work longer and harder, constantly coming up with the next big idea until we fall apart.
That is when we either stop working or we proclaim the tortured artist persona. Funny story (well actually a terribly awkward, embarrassing story) at one of my first art shows somebody bought one of my paintings and wanted to buy me a drink and talk about how/why I painted that particular painting. Nobody had asked me that before. I honestly didn’t know what to say.
I went with what I thought people thought artists were like, dark and full of suffering. I summoned a full on Lydia Deetz persona. Man, was that the wrong choice. The person was obviously freaked out and left. What the hell was I thinking, right?
From that day on I said no to that. I decided no, I would never be that person again. I am not that person and I won’t pretend to be anything I’m not ever again. I do not have time for that.
People can tell when you are just doing something just to do it. You can tell. It comes out shitty and you won’t feel very good about it. Cross those things off your list, they are just taking up too much of your valuable time. The things you should be doing right now will feel good and it will be easy to say yes to them. Do not doubt those things.
Those are the things that are you. That is you voice. Your passion. That is what people want to see/hear/feel. We want you to share the things you believe in, the things that you have no problem saying yes to. No promises that you will be able to sleep at night, but at least you will be staring at the ceiling thinking about things that are worthwhile.
I'm Jackie, an artist, illustrator, and friend to ghosts, monsters, and aliens. This blog is full of DIY projects, stories, and things I think are cool. Stay weird.