Sunday, July 22, 2012

"The Nots" (A Very Long Post)

I've been really floored by how wonderful my reading challenge has been going over the last almost seven months.  The quality of the reading has been at times divine and surprisingly pleasing.  I've spent a good deal of time in both fiction and non-fiction with crafty pieces sprinkled through out.  I just finished this book by the wonderful Susannah Conway and started this ditty by Kristin Neff.  I got the second book "recommendation" from Brene' Brown's website.  I noticed it was on her nightstand and wanted to learn a little more about self compassion after reading her fantastic books.  Susannah and Kristin have helped me become familiar with something called "the nots."  "The nots" are those things we repeat to ourselves so much that we give them a corporal shape and form.  They are spoken into existence.  I started thinking about all my "nots" and why I'm having such an effing hard time with being creative right now.  And guess what - there's that eight year old girl staring me in the face.

In second grade, I had the most fantastic teacher.  I loved being in her classroom and she fueled my love for words and books.  Unfortunately - this is also the year I began to tell myself that I didn't have the "art" gene.  I started to notice how other kids were able to draw, color, and create things in a way I believed I never would have imagined.  This is the year "the nots" took over when it came to drawing, painting, cutting, gluing, you name it.   I became the non-artist.

If there is one thing I've learned about creativity - it is the necessity to move forward and learn new things.  Without the challenge, we become stagnant - burnt out.  "The nots" have been keeping me from moving forward and I am afraid they will take everything creative I've cultivated in myself since 2007 and make it disappear.  I can't have that - not now, not ever.  I thought it was time to put those "nots" out in the open and start tackling them one by one.  So here's the short list of my "nots".

  • I am NOT an artist.
  • I am NOT a painter.
  • I am NOT creative.
  • I am NOT a writer.
  • I am NOT as good/smart/pretty/talented/(put any adjective here) as _____________________.

The last "not" is a big one because if I'm not as good as that person - why in the world am I doing this thing?  This is the thought that brings me to my knees.  I wonder how often "the nots" keep me from moving forward - from my doing my very best.  Who would I be without them?

Patterned Paper: Heidi Swapp, Cosmo Cricket, Studio Calico, Crate Paper: Stamp: Stamping Bella (image), Hero Arts (sentiment); Ink: Ranger Archival Ink, Distress Ink (Spun Sugar); Markers; Ranger Distress Markers; Embossing Powder: Unknown; Vintage Paper: Red Lead Paperworks.
I thought I'd give a quick example.  I know the first picture isn't great but it gives you the overall look.  I made this card for a friend's birthday last week.  I waited until the last minute to do the card due to my massive amounts of panic when it comes to crafting lately.  I used my distress markers in the exact way I had seen on several tutorials.  I chose one of my favorite images.  I stamped it on vintage paper from my LSS.  I took one hour to color this girl and I ended up hating it.   It's growing on me now - but still all I see are the flaws - the "nots."  

  • The colors are NOT blended well.
  • The papers are NOT matched well.
  • Text was NOT a good choice for the stamped image.
  • I can NOT make perfect cards.

If you didn't realize it by now - I hate the "nots."  I'm giving the "nots" the finger and trying to remember there is more to this creativity thing.  Why?  I know there is a sweet spot.  I've been there before.  I know because of this...

Patterned Paper: American Crafts, Echo Park; Stamps: Unity Stamps (She Art Girl by Christy Tomlinson); Hero Arts; Markers: Spectrum Noir; Ink: Studio Calico, Ranger Archival; Button: Bella Blvd; Cardstock: Archivers
I made this card five days before the one above.  I made mistakes - which I fixed to the best of my ability.  I played around with color and even sprayed the background when I realized the white was just too bright.  Eight days later...I love it.  I don't feel the "nots," not to say I didn't feel them then.  

There have been plenty of times when things have worked - when I've pushed the limits and come out the other side.  It's scary and hard but it's doable.  I can do this.  I need to start repeating that to myself.  I need to go to the mattresses with these "nots" and kick them in the ass.  I have to fight for my creativity (dramatic, I know)....

So anyhoo - it's a long post.  It's definitely one I needed after reading so much about unraveling and self compassion.  I'm still having a hard time in that chair - but I'll get through it.  I have to.  I hope everyone has a lovely Sunday where the "nots" are few and far between (non-existent even).  Until then...

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