Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fear & the flashlight

I feel… I don’t know exactly what I feel. Scattered. Overwhelmed. Excited. Scared. This e-course I am taking has really brought up so much “stuff” for me- it seems as if I am cleaning out my internal closets with a flashlight Kelly Rae Roberts stuck in my hand. If you follow her blog you will automatically picture a very cute, one-of-a-kind artsy flashlight, and yet… it is still a flashlight with which to view all of the things that hold me back. She didn’t make me take it, I asked for it. Boy, did I ask for it.

Let’s see what we have here, in this hat box marked ‘Fears’ lurking in the back corner. Surprisingly there aren’t many fears in the box, but the ones that are there are pretty complicated. Nothing as simple as “I fear failure” no ma’am… there in a tangle of knots is “I fear success”. Fantastic.

I fear success? Really? That really never crossed my mind, but now that I think about it, I get it. If I succeed as an artist, as a person living a really creative life, then I might have to admit I was wrong all those years ago when I changed my major from art to psychology as an effort to be a “practical grown up”… so what, do I want to spend my life doing something other than the things that make me happy? SO what? I was wrong. That doesn’t feel so bad to say… I WAS WRONG… which brings me to fear number two…

I reach back in the hat box & pull out the only other item left after the twisted knotted fabric of fearing success- it is flat, shiny & cool to the touch like a polished rock. In large stamped letters it reads HARD WORKER. What does this mean? That’s a good quality, right? I have always been a hard worker & it was something I was proud of. I put myself through both undergrad & grad school while working full time, all but my freshman year. I graduated with honors from both colleges- not because I’m naturally very smart, but because (say it with me now…) I was a hard worker.

Why is this in the fear box? I turn it over in my hands while I think about it… oh. Oh… I get it. It’s my definition of hard worker that is a problem. Somewhere along the way, I made it into something that only exists if you are doing work that you find to be… well, hard. Meaning something you have to make yourself do- something you would never do for free, just for the fun of it. Making art is fun & I love it, so certainly it can’t be considered “work”. Not for a “hard worker”. No… I have to do something professionally that makes me grind my teeth. That, my friend, is hard work.

Now I am fighting the urge to throw these things back in the box & bury it under a pile of shoes in the dark recesses of the closet. Part of me really wants to, but I won’t. I’ll keep them out & try to alter them into something functional, something wearable. Vintage is “in”, right?

I wonder if Kelly Rae will let me keep this flashlight she loaned me, it sure is cute… & puts off a very bright light. Whether I want it to or not.


  1. Thank you for sharing! What a beautiful metaphor! And yes, I believe she would absolutely encourage you to keep your artsy light. It shines just for you. :)

  2. Thanks Brandy! Can't you just imagine us all crawling around in our closets with our one-of-a-kind flashlights? I bet they all have teeny tiny wings...

  3. Wow, I have the same things you have in your box. Great post see you in class

  4. So true! Fear of success is a real surprise, isn't it?