“You is a very fluid concept right now.” -Hitch

Impostor syndrome is a deeply rooted feeling of insecurity that rears its ugly head when we step outside our comfort zones, and it aims for the jugular as it make us feel like a fraud, a sellout, a poser.  It usually strikes at a point that should otherwise be a proud moment, like getting a promotion, landing a new client, receiving a commission to do a work of art, or receiving praise and recognition. Impostor Syndrome is that mean inner voice that says, “So, you think you’re special now?” or “Who do you think you’re fooling?” and “You don’t belong here…  you don’t deserve this. You are going to fail.”

In one of my favorite RomComs, Will Smith’s character “Hitch” is a dating consultant who takes hopeless cases and helps them win over the loves of their lives. In an opening scene, one of his clients expresses his uncertainty about a new, very becoming, pair of shoes, “I don’t think they’re really me.” To which Hitch replies, “You is a very fluid concept right now. You bought the shoes. You look great in the shoes. That’s the you that I’m talking about.

Sometimes, we need to get unstuck from the self-imposed perception of who we were and what we did yesterday (and the days/months/years before that). Why, with all of the infinite possibilities that each day holds, do we feel trapped in cycles of doing the things that don’t work for us, and fail to make us happy?

YOU is a fluid concept every single day. YOU choose the “shoes” you will wear, what path you will take, and which lens you will see yourself and the world through. That’s the YOU I’m talking about.

Embracing Ugly

“Making art” every day is a fallacy. It gives the inaccurate impression that beautiful finished works materialize effortlessly for the lucky and talented few. On the contrary, making art every day is a humbling act of embracing ugly, as the artist confronts the gap between what is visualized in the mind’s eye and what she actually accomplishes.

Still, it is imperative to show up… to paint, ink, doodle, draw, and sketch every day. I do it because it makes me happy and aligned with a part of my “self” that is yet unrealized. As my inner artist emerges, I have to give her a safe space to play, experiment, find her “voice,” and make mistakes.

A musician may releases a great album with, give or take, 10 tracks, but the legacy of that one album consists of dozens of rejected songs, hundreds of castaway verses and hooks, and thousands of crossed out words. We don’t judge that musician for the outtakes because they served their creative purpose.

For artists, ugly serves a purpose… they are the outtakes, castaways, and rejects that beautiful final pieces are borne of… Embrace the ugly.

Don’t press the panic button…

It’s one of those days – a huge list of things to do and a highly structured day to make sure it all gets done. As a work-from-home mom, I know too well how fragile it all is… that feeling that if a call goes 10 minutes over or I spend an extra 15 minutes on one project, my work simply won’t get done and I’ll feel unaccomplished. What happens when, like it so often will, a wrench gets caught in our plans? Whether you tailspin into despair or roll with the punches is a matter of choice.

Today I had to remind myself to take a deep breath and not press the panic button. And it all worked out in the end.

My mommy coma… and [re]finding my “self”

A year ago, I began to emerge from what I refer to as my mommy-coma, the period in my life when my “self” faded into nothingness as my life became consumed with the nurture and care of my infant. I was sleeping 6+ hours a night, showering regularly, and not waking up to phantom cries in the middle of the night. It wasn’t long before I started to yearn to get back into making art – music, painting, writing. The absolute highest expression of my “self” has always been to create things, but, having stepped away from it for over a year, I felt uncertain about where and how to begin making art. I was scared to start again and suck at it.

My husband knew I was struggling and he gifted me the book, Art & Fear.

I devoured the book hungrily and did manage to reacquaint myself with art – I dabbled here and there, making some small progress, but never really gaining much momentum under me. Since I recently committed myself to making art every single day, I picked this book up for a second read. Here are a couple small excerpt that are particularly validating for making art every single day. I’ll be sharing more as I progress in the reading:

“To all viewers but yourself, what matters is the product: the finished artwork. To you and you alone, what matters is the process: the experience of shaping that artwork… Your job is to learn to work on your work.

“The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars. One of the basic and difficult lessons every artist must learn is that even the failed pieces are essential… You learn how to make your work by making your work, and a great many of the pieces you make along the way will never stand out as finished art. The best you can do is make art you care about – and lots of it.

My takeaway: most of what we make will suck, but it’s supposed to. Make art deliberately and work at it constantly. Make a lot of art. Make it for you.

Terry Crews: How to have do and be all that you want.

Let me preface this post by saying that today was a rough mommy day (toddler + resistance to bathroom = Lake Pee Pee on the hardwood floor) and this here podcast is rocking my world… Rarely does a podcast make me laugh, cry, and say “preach!” Terry Crews is so real and talks about being the art, being the masterpiece. Did you know he is a painter who got his first scholarship in art not football? Did you know he has a line of furniture? Did you know that he is a lifelong creative in addition to ex pro football player and now famous Hollywood entertainer? Listen to this podcast… it will change you (if you’re ready for it).

Stream the interview with Tim Ferris here.

Some of my takeaways:

Go for it… take your shot.  Don’t miss the opportunity. Even if you fall flat on your face… take the shot. It will define you whether you make it or not… if you frame the experience rightly, it will positively effect you either way.

You really get what you want in life… When you want something, you do what it takes to get it. If you miss things, let things go and don’t change your circumstances… you are ultimately getting what you want. What you want doesn’t always equal good and great… sometimes what you want is comfort and complaining. You just haven’t admitted it to yourself and that leads to self sabotaging.

Ever heard the phrase…”It’s a dog eat dog world?” Think about it… Dogs DON’T eat Dogs. Creativity is not a competition. In creativity, you just do you. Do not compete… don’t try to beat what is out there already.

There’s no room for jealousy and hate…You need the success of others around you to multiply the opportunities you have. There is room for everyone!

There is no one else like you… the world will never see another you… ever. No one will ever have the timbre of you voice and no one could ever do anything like you. So, everything you want to do is original. You just have to do it.

You have to know that your viewpoint is viable… You are creative.

Have courage… success comes to the courageous.

(So many gems in this podcast… you just have to listen. Go do it.) Last but not least…

“In order to HAVE, you have to DO; and in order to DO you have to BE.”

Crews references one of his favorite motivational books, Master Key System (just downloaded to my Kindle and I’m sure I’ll be rambling about this in a future post. ♥)