Monday, November 2, 2015

Why I'm scared out of my mind right now...

Despite all of the good things that have happened lately, and all of the encouraging support and positive feedback I have received from so many people during the past four months, it's very hard not to let the anxiety in. Some days, I become terrified of how things will all shake out, and on some of those days, the block is too great and I can't even make any art. Today was one of those days, although I did get a little bit of gessoeing done this morning.

What am I afraid of? Here are just a few of the things that are shaking me from the inside right now:

1. Fear of not selling enough work and, thus, running out of money. There is a time horizon for gaining my traction, and while I don't know exactly how far out it is from today (I won't likely know for sure until I do my 2015 income taxes), I suspect that it will come at some point in 2016, and probably sooner rather than later.
2. Fear that I won't be able to get a good job again if I do have to go back to my previous career.
3. Fear that I'll have to move to a big city if I do succeed in getting a job, which is just something I'd have to deal with then, because I'll most likely have to move. I may have to abandon my art, too. Trying to do everything is simply too much.
4. Fear of still having to do all of this alone. Folks, it's very hard to pursue entrepreneurship alone (financially and emotionally), and it's getting harder every day. I'll be honest... I didn't expect that it would get worse than it already was, but it has. It's difficult to be your own spouse, so to speak, in terms of discussing fears and dreams, soliciting new ideas, cheerleading over coffee, and, of course, softening the blow of fiscal responsibilities.
5. Fear of people not liking my art, which is mildly ridiculous because it's a simple fact that not everyone is going to like my art, and that is perfectly okay. But still... I want you to like it... or at least pay attention to it...
6. Fear of doing business things wrong... of making a mistake... of missing an opportunity because I didn't understand something...
7. Fear that none of this is actually making me happy, because I have to be focused so much on the survival part of it. If I were able to decide that this was temporary, then perhaps it would be easier to just enjoy the ride; but, the fact is, I am focused on making my art career happen, which means that I'll probably be hard at it until the day I realize that I have to start a job search.
8. Fear that this was all for nothing - a waste of precious time. While I know that this fear is not valid, it still exists. It's not valid because I've already gotten more out of it than I expected: I'm definitely producing more art these days; I'm able to fit in art events that I couldn't say yes to before; and I successfully left a long-term job despite my overwhelming fears of casting off my safety net in exchange for the beautiful unknown. I think the fear lies in knowing whether the trade-off will ultimately be worth it; I still don't know if making such a change will ultimately hurt my life, or help it unfurl in exciting new directions.

There are other fears, of course, but these are the heaviest ones. And while I know that they are part of the deal I signed up for, I don't think this fact lessens their impact. Many of you have asked how things are going, and I do my best to respond positively and optimistically, but I feel that I must share this side of the coin, too. And thank you to everyone who has supported me, because I'm sure that has helped soften the impact to some degree.

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