Just last night I had the thought of giving it all up. “Let it go, let it go. Turn away and slam the door”, I sing melodramatically in my head on my 2hr journey home, as I think of all the ways I could fall flat on my face. The fear of failure becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
For a moment I deigned myself to the prospect of a lifetime of desk-bound, soul-sapping, ambition-draining work. In that short span of time I had managed to convince myself that earning my keep and simply surviving isn’t really all that bad. It surprises me how easy it is to manipulate myself into accepting a safe way out, overriding years and years of dreaming about New York City. (Cliche, I know. But the city of dreams is my city of dreams. Literally.)
If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve.
‘Fail safe’, Debbie calls it. Choosing the failure-proof route over the possibility of having the whole wide word in the palm of your hands. We brand our dreams impossible before they are even possible.
I suppose a little backstory would help make more sense of this
not at all sudden onslaught of resignation. (Or possibly bore you to no end. Take your pick.)
I want to study fine arts/ studio arts/ visual arts/ whatever you want to call it. I want to study the art of making things, of breaking things and piecing them back together, of inspiring change in things. And I want to study it in one of the most competitive places imaginable— New York City. The Big Apple. The Concrete Jungle. The jungle where innumerable talents congregate, pushing me down into the swamp of ordinary.
But if that isn’t daunting enough, this would be: I know nothing about art. Have never done it, studied it, practiced it. I can’t even give you an answer for why I want to do it. Just that I do. I feel that I do, and I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I don’t just want to make art that’s displayed in lofty museums, I want to make art that connects with laymen like myself. That will make you walk along the streets and turn back twice, going “what was that I just saw!?” And it’s not just visual arts, it’s art in all it’s forms. Writing, music, acting, you name it. I think even science is form of art.
I just want to make art. I feel the need to make art.
But I’m crippled by the fear of “not good enough” that I dare not besmirch the pure empty canvas with my inferior marks.
The excitement from just filling in college applications is indescribable. It makes everything seem possible, within my reach. But it also fills me with such dread. What if my essays are too bland? What if my portfolio is trash? What if none of the schools will accept me? So I think that I most times believe that it’s just easier to not try. Easier than receiving the next 8 or 10 rejection letters and winding up in my local university.
I have to fight back. This is not who I am or who I want to be. I don’t want to censor my dreams before I even dream them.
So… Yes, it’s easier. But it’s not more worthwhile. 20 years down the road I don’t want to be gaping at the success of my counterparts. Staring in awe as I marvel at the courage they had to pursue their dreams.
It’s too easy to forget. The resolute determination overflowing in this post is ephemeral. Daily reminders are a necessity: I will try, and I will try again. I know what I want and I am going to get it.
So with that, I leave you with more words from the wise and wonderful Debbie Millman:
Do what you love and don’t stop until you get what you love.
Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities, don’t compromise, and don’t waste time.