All the things I did to put off writing the first post for this blog:
1. Carefully painted on 3 (three!) layers of bright purple lipstick. Blot, apply, blot, apply, blot, apply again. Perfect. NOW! I can start.
2. Made coffee. Then tea.
3. Peeled a fruit. Ate it.
4. Blogged on the other blog.
5. Dishes! Such a clean sink. READY TO START!
6. No. Check email. Maybe something important. Yes! Update from some random gallery… in BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND.
7. Lalalalalallaala strum my ukulele
8. It’s so hard, so hard. Why’s it so hard? 45 minutes of Existential Thinking.
9. Google. For three hours. One of the search queries may or may not have been ‘how to start’, also ‘make vegetable stock’, also ‘cool eye makeup’, also ‘DIY dress’, also ‘hawk tattoo’.
10. Quick email check. Press that refresh button like it’s going out of style. Yes! Press release from random gallery. So many people doing things. Living lives. Starting projects. Why must I be such a loser? All that time, lost lost lost. Never to be recovered.
11. Go out to the garden. Look at the weeds. Stare into space. Okayyyy… deep breath! NOW!
And so it goes. Repeated in one form or another for DAYS.
In my seven years of making and showing art, I’ve learned alot of things. I can now walk into a room full of strangers and talk about my work. I can say NO to people. I can ask for help. I can do guerrilla performances on the street.
But there’s one thing that has never gotten easier. Ever. Not even a little bit. And that is…
Anything. Whether it’s writing a project proposal, or moving out of the city, or buying a bicycle.
This little monster costs me more sweat, tears, worry and anxiety than anything else in my life combined. I used to think I would get better at it, a few years from now (whenever the ‘now’ was). But no. The same deep, un-nameable fear, and the same irrational shame at being unable to overcome it.
It’s a strange shadow to live with. Comparatively, making art is easy. It’s like breathing, or playing – it flows, a source of light, a kind of inexhaustible dance.
I think when people say ‘I could never do that’, they’re not actually talking about the ‘that’ as in the doing, the making, the singing, the writing. They’re talking about the shadow. Doubt, fear, guilt, shame. It’s made of all that, and more. I’ve found that it’s pretty inexhaustible too.
I don’t know how to start something at all.
I’m sorry for the misleading title.
You just do it. You have to. There’s no other way, no easy detour or neat path. You hold hands with the shadow, and – cursing all the while – you dance into the light.
Fucking hell, I think I just wrote the first blog post! Maybe I should thank my shadow.
What shadow do you live with, dear reader?