A secret: It is not like every day is a great art making day. There are the doubtFUL days. They have scattered themselves throughout this project. It starts with nasty internal voices whispering and builds into a harsh cacophony: “You’ve run out of ideas;” “You don’t have enough work;” “This isn’t real art;” “No one will come to your show;” “You are a fraud;” “Just who do you think you are;” “Get a real job.” Then there is the 2AM shift: “There is no way you can make a whole show’s worth of work in 2 months (1.5 months, 1 month, 3 weeks, 2 weeks, tick, tick, tick. . . ).”
These voices are old friends who have been with me for a long, long time. There have been chunks of life when I’ve let them run the show. They have had me gripped by panicked night horrors; curled into a fetal ball on the couch; or staring blankly at the corner of a room in a numb daze. I’ve been to therapy, done meditation, taken Prozac and prayed, let alone tried getting wasted in a variety of flavours. Somehow I’ve come through the worst of all this. Now these doubts only own me for shorter and shorter periods of time.
That’s where the pressure of a show’s deadline comes in. Sometimes, now, when one of these voices tries to make itself heard, I feel like a fed-up parent dealing with a truculent child. I sigh and say, “I’m busy. I don’t have time to indulge self-doubt.”
Lemon cake, champagne, milk chocolate & almond covered toffee, or not getting out of my pajamas until noon are my usual indulgences. Self-doubt isn’t an obvious candidate for this list. But, when I’m in my clearest moments, I know it belongs there. It is related to victim mentality – something that took me years to understand was actually a choice. (“Poor little me; I’m a helpless blob.” I don’t think so.)
The Latin roots of the word “confidence” boil down to ‘con’ and ‘fides” – with faith. Now I have more faith that I can make my art.