Saturday, October 22, 2011

Self Sabotage

Believe that you were given wings for a purpose
They call it self sabotage. It's the identifying phrase for all the little things we do in life to hurt ourselves, or ruin what feel we have that is going well in our lives.

For instance:
-Things going too well in that relationship? Let's throw in a curve that will take it off that track and put you back on the track that's rocky and hard and much much more comfortable.
-That new school really working out for you? How about you let yourself sleep through your classes a few times until you decide the teachers must be disappointed in you, or you missed too much and so you quit.
-Have you almost reached your goal weight by eating right and working out regularly for months? Why not decide to make candy for your kid's teacher gifts this Christmas? And oh, incidentally, take a break from working out at the same time. Just a little break that turns into two years.
-Perhaps you did a painting, pounded out a few essays, or wrote some music that you thought was really good and honestly you can't figure out how something that good could have been your work. You decide you could never do anything that good again and so you don't even try.
-Maybe you write someone who has complimented your work an e-mail and actually put yourself down in it so that they end up questioning their own judgement, after all you just did.
- Maybe you write a blog post from the heart and get a whole bunch of wonderful new followers and then "oops" you're too busy to blog for the next two weeks. (And think maybe they'll have forgotten you. Maybe they'll decide you're not worth it.) Maybe what you're really trying to tell them is that you don't think you're worth it.

Self sabotage is your reaction to the belief that people have what you perceive to be too much of a good opinion of you. Self sabotage means that you do everything you can possibly do to prove to them you're not worth it. And that in that one little phrase is where all of these stupid decisions come from. YOU believe that you're not as sweet or talented or wise as you might have fooled them into believing. You may listen to others opinion of you and think, "that's not me- if they really truly knew me they wouldn't think so well of me." All because you don't think you're worth it. Or worth anything really.
All messed up still, but with the form of something beautiful

But then you start to question yourself, you realize what you've been doing unconsciously and you say it out loud, "I'm not worth it, really I'm not". And you're alone and you realize that you're saying it to God. You're not worth whatever good He's lavished on you. Whatever blessings He's bestowed. Really, if he knew you. Really knew you. Then a little voice answers from inside of you. You are Worth that much to me. You've been covered by My Son and when I look at you I see the person I created. The person unharmed, unblemished... beautiful, and filled with potential that only I can imagine because I instilled it in you.

 That my sisters, is the truth. For both me and you. WE ARE WORTH IT TO HIM. Broken as we are, He will pick us up and use us in ways we never imagined. It's so hard to live that life, so hard to accept a gift that you feel is so undeserved. It's something I struggle with all the time. And I think it might help to share that struggle a little more with you. Because I believe that it's not just me who has a pattern of self-sabotage, if you truly look at your life, you'll see why you might have lost that job, why you're not a great success at keeping friends, why you let your dream slip away right as you had reached out to grasp it.

But then, recognizing it, you have to stop. You have to put into place safeguards. Before you send off that questionable e-mail, let a friend or spouse read it first. Before you decide to quit school, see if there isn't some way you can start fresh where you're at. If that relationship that was good, headed south, then pack a bag and follow it. Don't act on the imagined, make sure that what you perceive to be true really truly is. If you have a certain habit of procrastinating then make yourself a schedule with little mini deadlines to keep. You know you. You know what you do. You can stop doing whatever it is that you do- Because of Him. And you can begin afresh today. Or maybe tomorrow. Tonight you're going to polish off that cake, take a bubble bath, and then snuggle into bed with a good book, committed to beginning again tomorrow.

And then you do.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Twenty Reasons to Come Out of Your Artistic Closet

I am so grateful to everyone who commented on yesterday's post. I was so excited to read your reaction and felt so glad that the post encouraged you. It got me thinking though about what's happened to me since I took the step of claiming to be an artist. Yeah, it's easier to fill in the job title blank on a form but what else? 

Here's a list some of the unforeseen advantages I've found...

1. If you show up at 8 a.m. to drop off your child no one questions the gesso smear you  have on your forehead. Unfortunately, no one will even mention it and you'll not discover it until you look in the mirror later in the day. That's IF you look in the mirror later in the day.

2.You get to dress "expressively" and can wear mismatched clothes and pig tails and no one will suspect that it's just because you forgot to do laundry and hadn't taken a shower yet that day.

3. If you dress that way two days in a row, it's still ok.

4. Art supplies are now "tax deductible expenses" as are art conferences, and CONFERENCE WEAR!

5. Your husband will pause before throwing away some old canning jar lids and take them to you to see if you want them. When you say "yes" he'll say "i thought so, they're metal".

6. Your friends and family will give you  things like old carpenter's rulers, corks, old trays, and tins full of shell buttons because they know you're obsessed with these and will think they're the best gifts ever.

7. Now that you're openly an artist you feel the responsibility to openly support other artists (my justification for buying LOTS of cool jewelry).

8. You get to let your artistic personality in all it's quirkiness, forgetfulness, flakiness, and passion show through. People will understand that it's all because you're an artist.

9. If you're tired and staring blankly at the wall as someone's talking to you they assume you're envisioning a new work of art.

10. You can justify a subscription to that super cool art magazine as "market research".

11. You can wrap a present in kraft paper and yarn and people will know it's from you (handy when you forgot a tag).

12. Your husband is now eligible to join the "i married an artist" support group. You are now eligible for the "I'm an artist who married an engineer" support group. That's if you can get in. 

13. People at the post office, or grocery store, or anywhere you frequent will talk art to you as a matter of course because they know you'll understand them.

14. When asked to explain a design decision you can just say it "felt right" as way of an explanation and people will let it go at that.

15. You get business cards that say "artist" under your name

16. You get to make cool pairings like chicken wire and pearls.

17. If called upon to do a last minute school project on a Sunday night you don't sweat it because one trip to your studio and you'll have everything you need.

18. You can doodle on everything, put flowers in your macaroni dish, and do all kinds of little random things for the sake of beauty and it's understood and even appreciated.

19. When asked to volunteer you're usually given something artistic to do.

20. You and others like you will gravitate to each other and then you can do fun things like have coffee and talk for half an hour about the relative properties of different adhesives.

I could go on but I would LOVE to see what unforeseen advantages you may have found, once people know you're an artist. So please leave a comment and thank you!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Why You Should Believe You are an Artist: Even if You Don't Make Art

When I was 17 I had a boyfriend who said, "You're not a real artist. Real artists are like (so and so friend of his) who makes stuff up out of his head. You just copy something you see." And yes, I did. I would paint from nature, or do my pastel drawings outside, on site. So there really was nothing I could say about that. The boyfriend meant a lot to me so I believed him. Sad as that now seems. I decided that no, I wasn't an artist. I just liked to draw and make pretty things.

Last week I was teaching a class and I heard the women saying that same thing. They sculpted with metal clay, they did jewelry and were taking mixed media classes. But they called themselves crafters. They knew real artists, and that was not what they were. I felt so sad. Then something someone else said triggered the same thought and I had to share it with you. 

So here is today's message. YOU ARE AN ARTIST!!! You may call yourself a crafter, and a craft is maybe what you feel you are creating. Maybe you don't feel you're an artist because you may be contrasting yourself with someone who is a fine artist. You may work with Sculpey instead of clay. You may love to sew, instead of creating paintings. But you are still an artist. An artist is not defined by the medium or the product, but by so many other little things. You see, I've come to realize over the years that to be an artist does not have to mean that you sell your work. It does not mean that you work with fine art materials and shop at fine art supply stores, or create art that is ultra realistic, it does not even have to mean you can draw. We put up such barriers to our own happiness. We want to be artists, we hope to one day be artists, all the while not understanding that we already are artists.

I believe that the term "artist" is not a job title but a personality type. You are an artist for example, if you love beauty. If you seek to surround yourself with it, and glory in it. You're an artist if you appreciate design. If you notice the light on the leaves outside your window at a particular time of day. If you feel energized and alive after learning some new way to create. If you HAVE to create. If you are unhappy if you don't create. 

You may recognize all or only a few of these descriptions in your own personality. BUT if you do, then I believe really and truly in my heart of hearts that you are already an artist. I'll agree that artist's are born not made. But that does not mean that you ooze talent your whole life. It may not even mean that you work with art materials. It is your personality. It is in your blood. You couldn't stop yourself from creating if you tried. Odds are that if you look at your life you'll see that you find a way to be creative in all sorts of areas of your life. It may be in what you choose do as volunteer work. Or how you decorate your home. Or how you dress or cook or craft. But to create, to make beautiful or interesting everything you touch, that is something a true artist does. Not because they went to school for it, but because they simply have to.

It really wouldn't be a big deal what we call ourselves except that we make judgements about ourselves based upon that. You would sign up for that art retreat but you're sure that only real artists go and you would stick out. Or you would spend the money for that amazing sounding class but you really can't justify spending any more money on something that is really just a  hobby. You would take a room in the house for yourself and your art, but that would seem to much like carving out your own little studio space and you don't feel it's justified. Do you see how you demean yourself? That is why it's dangerous to deny your Artist self. God has made you unique, He has put that creator element of Himself in you, and you refuse to acknowledge it. He may have caused that opportunity to go to that art retreat to open itself up to you, purely for your own joy. But you refuse to embrace the gift that it is because you can't acknowledge that you are already an artist and have been since the day you were born.

So please, think about this. And next time you feel the urge to claim not to be an artist-Don't. If you don't know what kind of artist you are, because you do a little of everything, say you're a mixed media artist. But if you say you're not an artist, you'll believe it. We listen to what we tell ourselves, as do others. So say it to yourself, if no one else. "I am an artist." And believe it- You are.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall is here and so is the new issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts!!!

On news stands now!
Earlier this week I received a package with my very own copy of CPS's Gifts issue. I LOVE this magazine. I bought it last year in mid November and wanted to make everything in it. I did have a bit of a late start and I'm not sure that I had the time to make anything at all. THIS year, I vow, will be different. There is almost three full months until Christmas and I am so excited to be able to try some of the fabulous lovely gift ideas in the magazine. For instance, there is an article about making little gift bags with contact paper and scraps. They are SO cute! Then Jen Cushman's resin tags caught my eye. I love combining vintage with anything so these completely call out to me (it's a little voice that says "make me- make me"). Then the ornaments from the black and white challenge. The little birdhouse is Jen Crotty's from An Altered Life. So SO cute! There is also this amazing wire and fabric wreath that I think everyone should try (of course, I may be a little prejudiced it being mine). Ok, I was trying to be funny there.  As for me, I'm hoping to get the one that's pictured back in the next month or so. That way I can feel like I have a head start and can check "make a wreath" off of my Christmas to do list.That also frees me up to make some of the other lovelies in this magazine.

My hand stitched wire and fabric wreath
Seriously, we all feel that last minute pinch towards Christmas when we realize that we no longer have the time to make the sweet handmade gifts we wanted to. We end up settling for something that's not quite as nice, and probably found at Target, when it would've been so much more rewarding to give something we invested a bit of time and heart into creating. So my suggestion to myself this year is START EARLY. Make a list now of people you feel would appreciate something handmade. Count up the number of tags you'd like to have made, spend a Saturday morning making a slew of gift bags to have on hand. Try to work out how many gifts for co-workers, friends, and teachers you'd like to have ready. Then break up the tasks you need to accomplish to make that many. Think through the supplies you need so that when you go shopping you only have to do it once. (I'm constantly making last minute emergency runs to Michael's or JoAnn's to get the one or two things I forgot I needed for something). Those are just a few ideas that I think I'll use to help organize my efforts this year.

The wreath I made is actually made from fragments of recipes, music pages, old fabrics and paintings of mine. I wanted the wreath to represent the traditions of my family growing up as well as the one's that I want to include now. Handmade is one of those traditions, both new and old in a way. These are the memories that I want to give to my son for his own. I'd like to know what traditions do you keep? Is handmade a part of that?

A little of this and a little of that....