Lockdown has me awake late and sleeping until midday and tonight being no exception, I decided to spend some time in my studio. I did a crap drawing that I didn’t finish and then a crap illustration as one of the tasks for an online course that I’m taking to try keep myself inspired and motivated. When I decided to stop and get ready for bed, I felt like shit because lately my art feels really mediocre and like it hasn’t grown or changed in any really big way. Then I realised… holy shit my self talk is so damn critical.
I could be telling myself “good job” for getting into the studio and working on something and that not every day is going to be a day where I have huge breakthroughs, especially when the lockdown tedium is ongoing. I could be pleased with myself for putting in the time to develop my skills and grow my artistic practice. Instead I was feeling angry and frustrated with myself for all the things that I’m not. I felt upset at going to bed miserable and then suddenly I wondered why it had to be this way. I started to wonder to myself how much more I’d get done if after every session in my studio, I thought “good on you” instead of just feeling anxiety about whether my art would sell, feeling like a failure for not being as good as so many artists I follow and admire, beating myself up for not doing it better, doing it more, promoting myself more and so on and so on.
My God. If I could only learn to pat myself on the back after each small accomplishment, maybe I’d feel better and happier and more likely to do… more. It’s so hard for me to feel pleased with myself, instead there is a voice inside my head that feeds me an almost constant stream of poison about all my failings. My God. How much more could I be if I learned to encourage myself, compliment myself, have some goddamn faith in myself?
For as long as I can remember, the critic inside my head has been so strong that I believed everything she said was simply the truth. I’ve been working hard over the last few years with my psychologist and with myself to change that. Ancient habits die hard but I want, so badly, to no longer be my own enemy. Life’s hard enough without constantly abusing oneself inside one’s own damn head.