I’m sitting at a table in a grassy area amongst other creative folks. The grass makes my feet itch through my open toed shoes but, it’s no bother. The sun is bright and warm but the air is crisp like a cool raspberry tea on a summer afternoon. My artwork is presented on lightweight easels for people to view and buy. My business cards lay nearby ready to be scooped up. The presence of others and their artwork is inspiring and the helps me to build fresh ideas of my own. Then a quiet voice declares, “You’re not good enough to do this. I mean, what are you thinking? This is just a another one of those daydreams.” The voice sounds familiar. Perhaps even my voice but, not as others hear it.
I’ve always been my worst enemy that unconsciously listens to the voice that sabotages all of the great dreams in my life. However, my 30’s have brought wisdom to help me understand that these quiet voices, that seek to make me feel inferior, are not unique to me. Even Oprah hears these crushing whispers. Whoa. Though it’s one of those “of course” hit yourself upside the head moments, it still boggles my mind. Recently, I discovered a fabulous designer and teacher named Debbie Millman. She created a fabulous podcast, Design Matters (there’s that pun again), where she interviews extremely successful artists/designers AND it’s not full of ego or arrogance like you’d assume. In fact every episode that I have listened to, thus far, the designer/artist speaks about their feelings of inadequacy. I remember one designer hesitantly admitting that they had done several great things but, who’s to say it could be done again tomorrow. I stumbled upon a different podcast which featured Debbie as the interviewee. She was asked how she built such a successful career for herself and her honest answer, “therapy.” She went on to credit her therapist for everything good in her life. Whoa.
I’ve spent my days dreaming up my new tomorrow attempting to pay no heed to the hisses that chase me. They can make me feel outnumbered if I listen too closely! Author Steven Pressfield calls it Resistance in his recent book The War of Art, which I am currently reading. The trick is to hear the whispers but instead of embracing them as the truth allowing them to pass by like high speed train. It’s genius and if I can manage it my dreams will likely flourish. I’m the one who stands in my way.
Having severe RA onset and getting fired at once has intensified the voices that make me feel subordinate, especially when I’m having a bad day- with pain and/or fatigue. I think issues of allowing inferiority to win was even evident in my doc’s office last week when I didn’t speak up. I should have said, what the hell are you on doc? Being quiet and fearful doesn’t suit me and in fact, those qualities are not even me. I just have to let them pass by. Fortunately I have many therapists, they’re made up of family, friends, and authors and they to help me to learn to hush the fears with their wisdom an support. One day at a time.