On a scale of 1-10, I’d have to say these last few days have been floating around 5. I got most things done. I’ve also been so very easily distract-able that most any effort I’ve made seems small in comparison to the amount of effort I’ve spent in redirecting myself to get the things done.
And… despite what I thought on Sunday, it wasn’t squirrels.
Some of it has been good-old self-discovery and analysis. Good things really, and part of why my pittance of accomplishment doesn’t bother me all that much (because I really fell down on my ROW80 goals since Sunday!).
Yesterday while writing my 750 words entry (ended up 2.5K WOOT!), I glanced at the accumulated art supplies around my office and wondered why I never use them; or if I do, it’s for a quick “try this”… which usually ends in disappointment because I’m an obsessive perfectionist.
Which brings me back to the title… I have a ton of art supplies I never use, I have a ton of stories I don’t show anyone… I say I don’t like to cook, but the truth is these things flow from a fear of waste.
Art supplies are—I was always told—expensive. Don’t waste them. Use scrap paper to practice on. What’s wrong with a #2 pencil or a ballpoint pen? You want markers? Here’s a pack of 36 colors for a dollar. Never mind that most don’t work…
It took me three years before I felt comfortable enough to make my first drawing in a sketchbook I’ve got in my supply bag. Three years… I’ve since drawn in it twice in six months, both pictures on the same piece of paper.
I’ve sketched things on a napkin (ruined in my purse two days later) and the backs of a few pieces of junk mail (some where in the house!). But a dedicated, special for me place to hold my art? Not really.
I have a paint set I opened the box of, looked at all the pieces and then set aside when I have time to take an art class so I can learn how to use the correct brushes and such. Then there are the stacks of unopened canvases… Despite this excess, I only allowed myself to use 99 cent bottles of poster paint and a 59 cent set of dried water-colors on craft paper since my son was born. It’s not that I don’t like painting. I don’t feel qualified to do it based on my limited grade-school art experiences, and I know I’d be wasting real supplies.
And given the years when I would cook something I knew was past its expiration date or badly freezer burnt because I couldn’t bear to toss it (both my parents are avid volunteers at their local food pantry; my son has asked for a food donation to give to one of our local pantries for every birthday party he’s had since he was four…. I could not throw away food). I wouldn’t make anyone else eat it; I accepted my punishment for forgetting it in the back of the freezer or the cupboard.
For a long time, I felt I couldn’t write for the same reason. But… unlike painting, which I enjoy but even feels like dabbling, or cooking, which can feel fulfilling as a hobby, a creative game to play when I need to stretch myself, I needed to write stories. If I didn’t write something, I curled up on the couch hugging my knees and muttered to myself.*
This doesn’t mean I felt my writing was good. Only that I needed to do it. And yes, I have noticed some improvement with the years of practice. I’ve noticed some deterioration though too. This is one of the reasons I’ve set myself a goal to typing in old notebooks. I don’t know what happened, and I’d like to understand it. But for all that crappy writing from the past, my newer stuff feels like it has lost something.
I’m trying to understand it, and a lot of other things about the person I keep becoming. That’s one of the reasons I keep coming back to the ROW80; it gives me writing and self-study… and so far it’s a lot cheaper than therapy.
So, my check-in for today is to add another “goal”. Or maybe a permission…
Yes, I give myself permission to mess up something.**
I give myself permission to ruin something. I even give myself permission to toss things. I accept that I cannot hold onto everything. I accept that not everything I make will be good. I will ruin things, I will make mistakes… I will make beautiful things and I will make absolute shit.
I will just do it.
*Really. Ask some of my former roommates if you don’t believe me.
**(Yeesh… my whole body shivered as I typed those words, my fingers felt twitchy, almost numb).