If you follow me on Facebook, you may have noticed that today I decided to take a break from Social Media.
This has been brewing for a while. I love Facebook and I am so thankful for the technology that allows me to connect with you and so many of my favorite artists. However, Facebook also as a dark side…The side where we only see what everyone else is doing well and you start compare your self.
Yesterday after a pretty hard art day, that is exactly what happened. I am in several Facebook groups for all the classes I am taking. It seems that everyone was “getting it” That every one was better than me, and I started to go into a shame cycle. My inner critic was screaming at me “You suck at art” “You will never get this!!” “Who do you think you are?” And I started putting pressure on my self to be perfect…and to make art that is beautiful no matter what.
I started telling my self a story. The story was that if every piece I make was not better then the last one then I am a failure and everyone was going to laugh at me. Rationally I knew this was crazy, I could tell I was acting crazy, but I could not stop the shame cycle. Logically I knew that this was a journey, logically I knew that perfection was an unattainable goal but my emotions and my heart wanted nothing to do with that.
So I reached out to my mentor and friend Petra. She encouraged me to let go and to just play with my art and reminded me again how perfection is unattainable. Honestly though I really was struggling to hear what she was saying. I also talked/cried to my husband. He is not an artist but he is so encouraging and instead of telling me what I could do better he just let me cry it out and reminded me that it will be okay. I am not the sum of my last piece of art…good or “bad”
Here is day 33: She was created from Iris mini class in Lets Face it. I can look at her now objectively and see she is not that bad.
Today I was determined to just play and have fun. To let go of the outcome and to just let the piece take me where she wanted to go. I started out okay, but about half way through the negative self talk started to come back. So I decided to take a break and look on Facebook for a while. Mistake #1. I saw all this beautiful art being made and I started to hate my piece. I took a deep breath and told my self this is supposed to be fun. I tried to be objective and I asked my self what I did not like about her. It was her body that was bugging so I painted over her body. Things still did not feel right and I was getting more and more frustrated and it stopped being fun. So I did something drastic. I took white gesso and painted over the entire piece.
I did not do this out of rage or being upset, I honestly did not like it and wanted something else. I felt so much better once she was covered up. My friend Jenn from B-Inspired is my art accountability partner. I confessed to her about my comparing and how I was feeling like I was moving backward in my art. She told me the comparing needs to stop now and and also offered some feedback and advise about my work that I really needed to hear.
So here I was, close to the end of the day with no face that I could count for today. I asked my self what do I love. What does not feel like work? That brought me back to my graphite and sketch book. I immediately felt better. I was having fun. I was enjoying the feel of the graphite on my fingers, the way my pencil moved across the paper… Here she is completed. This is what play means to me. This is what I currently love to do. I am not going to give up on painting, but I am also not going to allow my self to beat my head against the wall if its not going well.
I am taking a break from Facebook for a few days. I need some space to feel good about my self and to get over the “comparison-itis”. I will still be doing a face every day, and will post it here. If you need me for anything feel free to post a comment on this blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
How do you handle “comparaison itis”? Is it something you struggle with? What help you? Tell me in the comments below…