Taking the next step can be an absolutely terrifying thing.
This week, I did and within minutes, realized what a gift the fear of moving forward is.
I used to take pictures thinking that I had to have some sort of typical photography business in order to succeed with it. I thought that was the only way.
The truth is that I’m good at taking wedding photos, portraits, etc., and I’ll do it, but my passion is nature photography and seeing God/The Universe/Love in Nature. I’ve gone for walks in freezing rain, blazing heat and biting cold just to get pictures because the beauty inspired me. I also create other art that I don’t often share and want to begin sharing. Poetry (written and spoken word), music and other writing.
It only made sense that I would take the next step and change my photography page into an artist page, using my full name instead of ____ _____ Photography.
I could hear the criticisms and jeers in my mind, ranging from the concept that my work isn’t good enough, that I’m a narcissist, ego-filled or doing it for the wrong reasons. The reality though, is that no one was saying those things- it was entirely in my mind.
What a gift those things were though.
I tried to stay as aware and awake as possible so that I could feel all of this. There were a few times where the explanation of what I’d just done to a friend on the phone almost sent me into a panic attack tailspin, but I sat through it and didn’t run.
There were moments where I wanted to apologize for wanting to create a space to share my work (all of it, not just pictures) and others where I wanted to delete the whole page altogether and start brand new. But I sat through it.
I vacillated between these extremes, feeling my palms sweat and voice shake while explaining my predicament on the phone to a friend who said, “And what’s so wrong with simply creating a space to share your creations?” And I sat through it.
And I realized then and there, that the only person holding me back from the great things I want my future to hold is me.
Sitting through the discomfort and allowing the anxiety to fall away and with it, all the “how dare you”, I realized that this is just the next step I need to take to promote my work as an artist. More importantly, it’s a step I want to take.
No one’s going to hold my hand and walk me through the doorway into who I want to become; That’s my job.
I have to take those steps on my own and no one’s going to create that for me. Nor will there ever be a “right time” because as the entire premise behind Austin Kleon’s book, “Show Your Work” demonstrates, if you’re writing, photographing, using paint to create fine art and anything along those lines, you need a place to show it.
And my apologizing or feeling bad for wanting to share my work simply holds it back from platforms that could transform it in powerful ways. Not to mention the fact that the work I produce could move more people and in the end I had to wonder whether all of those little arguments for why I wanted to make that change were really my trying to justify why I wasn’t qualified. The more lengthy the reasons and the more complex they are, the further they turn from the truth which should be present during any decisions we make: our wanting to do something needs to be enough.
My greatest fear was that there would be some exodus of people streaming from the page, thinking I was some full-of-myself-artist who believes she’s bigger than she really is. After it’s all said and done, that giant exodus never happened.
Moreover, if they don’t want to like me, why would I want them to? It’s kind of a twisted thing, to be upset at the fact that people gave me the gift of being honest about the fact that I’m not their cup of tea and I took it as a sign that my fears were totally accurate rather than the clearing of negativities that it truly was. Now I’m coming from a totally authentic place that resonates at every level of my being.
I’ve been busy looking at art galleries to share my work in and learning about that process, writing for theBUZZ magazine in Toronto while also writing for myself, in addition to submitting freelance writing to other magazines, taking pictures and putting together pieces of a photo project I’m hoping will take flight very soon. As a result I haven’t posted on here very much this week but I found this experience with taking a baby step (and in the big scheme of things, it is a baby step) worth taking a moment to write about because regardless of where we’re at with our goals, we’ve all been there.
All I can think about now is, how much more can I do now that I had my creative panic attack and got it out of the way?
A sneak peek of the inside of one of the art galleries I’m looking at hanging work in with a fellow artist this Winter/Spring (from my Instagram page @cherylalisoncostello).
Another dream oh-so-close to coming true!
On The Wings of Miracles,