Thursday, January 9, 2014

Mrs. Fluhearty

You had such good intentions. This year would be different, you’d pick a new project, get an early start and push right on through until you finished it and then you’d start a new one and just keep right on going until it was time to wrap Christmas presents.

And that’s just what you did.

You did do that?

No, why not?

Well you are right there are a lot of demands on your time, the whole world is conspiring against you, the kid never stop whining and the thing on the couch with the remote is always hungry.

And none of that is a good excuse. Sure you can let the demands of running the house steal all of your time, but there is one other thing that you have to watch out for and that is confidence.

Do you have self-confidence?

Sure you remember way back when there were dinosaurs roaming the earth and you were stuck in Mrs. Fluhearty’s English Grammar class and your report card had that whole section of “Self’s” and you always got straight A’s except for that section with the self-discipline and self-regulation and self-control and those weren’t so straight not even C’s and you always got read the Riot Act and then you went to school and had to stand cause you found it hard to sit for any length of time and whoever thought those desks made from slabs of cheap pine could be comfortable for eight hours straight and how could anyone expect you to sit still on those things while shifting from cheek to cheek cause you couldn't put pressure on the whole surface cause pressure had already been applied to the whole surface and you just had to talk about it to your pal across the isle who would now be your BFF but back then we didn’t know that there would be a category for best friends forever so we just called them pal and then you got caught talking in class and the whole cycle started all over again.

Is that where you decided that self-confidence was something which you would never have and you should just get over it and go on with your life?

It is a tricky thing cause we have all been warned by our mothers not to get “The Big Head” and that sounds a lot like being confident and then there is the whole male/female thing which says it is okay to have a “Big Head” if you are a guy but of you are a woman then when you have a “Big Head” it makes you a witch or was that another itch word?

Anyway, there are a bunch of stumbling blocks set in your path to keep you from developing the confidence you need to make and promote your art.

You have to have confidence cause what you want to say with art may be different from Thomas Kincade or Norman Rockwell and that is probably going to mean that there are nice people out there who just will not get it and will ask what in the world were you thinking when you drew that? No you cannot use the two word response ending in “you!”

But you do have to have enough confidence to believe in your art even when people are saying it stinks. Now they may be right and if that is so then you will eventually see that and do something else, but if they aren’t you do not want to let them talk you out of doing it.

You have to have self-confidence to promote your art by selling, or entering or publishing and you cannot do that if you are letting those little voices either the ones in your head or the ones from your family/friends/art critics get the best of you.

You are your own worse critic. This is doubly true for women. Women are taught by society to be dissatisfied with themselves no matter what they are looking like or doing or thinking. Men never even look so this isn’t a problem for them. And just in case you think it is them whispering in the dark corners of your mind remember men will look at anything that moves so don’t let their opinion have too much weight.

Years ago I wrote a punch line for one of my plays. The character claims he couldn’t kill a complete stranger, “I’d much rather kill close friends or family, wouldn’t you?” And this is always true when it comes to criticism. Close friends and family no matter how well meaning will always say the most hurtful things with the kindest smile and then be royally offended if it ticks you off. Don’t listen to them. They really do have your best interests at hear but they will kill you with kindness.

You cannot expect the gallery owners or the museum curators to lend you confidence. They expect you to have it already and if you don’t they just don’t have time for you. They have a business to run, a show to put on and contest to manage and you can be a part or get left behind.

Turns out those social engineers were right; you do have to develop self-confidence. But you do it on your own and let Mrs. Fluhearty give out any marks she wants. You aren’t there any more and you can’t let ghosts from your past hold you back.

You ain’t afraid of no ghosts.

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