Image source here.
Word of the year: listening.
Here we are! I said “I’ll write more!” and basically legged it, drowning in the aforementioned Other Job. There are reasons for that: long story short, I got stuck in my own thinking. Behold:
The “Get It Right” Paradox
… Do you know that feeling when you’re finding your way on a crossroads? You’re pretty sure left will get you where you need to be, but just in case, to avoid being wrong, you walk right for a bit.
Is it just me who does this? This whole idea that you’re not allowed to be wrong can result in some interesting routes. Basically, I was so scared of embracing my artistic identity (doing what I felt was right but feared was wrong), that I ran in opposite direction. Man, did I suffer for it. Trying to get life right because perfectionism. Incidentally, this blog is called Good Enough Diary for a reason…
Perfectionism is the most unhelpful thing EVER. So is a mortal fear of being wrong. Combined, they led me down this path: from a job I kind of tolerated/was getting bored of… to taking a full-time position. What the actual fuck. One of the more misguided things I’ve done.
The Trap of “Reasonable” Thinking
I do remember what I was thinking. It makes a twisted sort of sense – what we call “reasonable”, “real world”, “money doesn’t grow on trees”, “you have to eat”, self-preservation, OMG SHUT UP WHY ARE YOU FEEDING ME CRAP GET OUT OF MY HEAD. We all heard that shit and had it stuffed down our throats by well-meaning (or not so well-meaning) parents/grown-ups/society, who often had had it shoved, ad infinitum. Amanda Palmer sums it up as a “Get a job!” feeling, as if art wasn’t a real job and did not require effort. Add to it the crippling shame associated with being creative (=not a Real Adult), connected with this weird idea that being creative for money is somehow unethical (oddly, the reasoning seems to intersect with sex work, somehow; that certain things are too precious to be sold and should therefore be donated. Too complicated to develop here, but nonetheless interesting). Add all those up, and I found myself in the middle of mental gymnastics, explaining the unexplainable: why doing something completely against myself is a Good Idea (with footnotes).
It’s second of January. I quit the job about a month in and now know I should never have taken it in the first place. But I’m going easy on myself: I had to know. I had to learn that no matter what I do, the full-time “normal”, non-creative job will never, ever give me any satisfaction.
What next? My last day is on Wednesday. This month I’m writing. The challenge ahead is constructing a sustainable creative lifestyle, which is relatively free of perfectionism and procrastination. I’m looking for a sweet spot between stretching myself and over-reaching; for example, I’ll not be working from home, as it’s too distracting to begin with and might result in not doing stuff and/or depression; similarly, I will not expect huge achievements from tomorrow, as intimidating myself into not doing anything is a one way trip to Guiltland. I want to be loving, gentle and unstoppable. I want to be relentless like a wave.