I had a conversation with a fellow artist friend a few days ago about feeling like a sell-out when we create pretty, frilly, fun things for no good reason other than it makes us feel good. We fear what others will think of us and end up not creating as much. It seems like the times when I stress the most over a piece of artwork are the times when I have the poorest response to it. BUT, the times when I just go for it and do not limit myself on what I create (even when it starts to feel too mainstream, or too silly, or too fun)? Those are the times that I get some really positive feedback--those are the times that I actually connect with others through my craft. My friend shared this revelation (and we were both relieved and inspired after discovering we weren't alone).
As I have persisted with my little side business, I have learned that I have to be willing to put myself out there and be vulnerable with my art even when I feel like someone (anyone) might think it is ridiculous. There was a time when the thought of exposing every little thing that I created would have given me an anxiety attack. I would have thought "What if I annoy the hell out of people? What if it appears as if I think I am actually talented?"
That last thought? Is crazy. Right? And sometimes I still think it. Even when I know I am talented. I know I have something to share. And I know that there are people out there that appreciate it (especially my Mom).
I don't really know why I cut myself down on the behalf of others, but I think a lot of us do it. I have been reading Brene Brown's Daring Greatly and there is a lot of great insight within the pages of that book into self-effacing behavior. It's kinda funny, when I saw Brown's TED talk online I was so inspired by her point of view on vulnerability. And I was dumbfounded when I saw her second talk where she revealed that she struggled so much after that first talk with her own feelings of vulnerability. I think one of the most resonate points I have taken away from her talks and her book so far is that when we see others being vulnerable it is empowering, but when we think of ourselves being vulnerable, it is terrifying.
So, this is something I am workin' on. One way I am doing it is by posting on this blog (which elicits the thought "What if it appears as if I think I am actually a writer?"). But mostly, I am trying my best to create something new every day. And then I am exposing it to you.
I also think that if you are feeling vulnerable about whatever it is that you want to put out into the world, you should embrace it. Because chances are, you will inspire someone else to do the same.