Part 1: Finding a goal worth the risk
Part 2 to be posted 8/15/15: How to hit the reset button after creative burnout and disappointment
The effort of maintaining a public persona births special kind of exhaustion. This weariness finally caught up with me, overwhelmed me. I slowed and quieted. My blog posts became fewer and father between until they stopped entirely. My social accounts focused on trivial games or industry updates. I ceased Facebook entirely. I made no new videos, scheduled no social events, published very little.
At the start of the year, I rigorously challenged my assumptions of myself and my place in the world. When I could have succumbed to the down flow, instead I gathered smart, supportive people around me. I read thought-provoking books, tested out new theories and models of living.
Once fully vetted, I latched on the passion I know that will not only sustain my family, but also meet my needs of challenge, art-making and intellectual engagement.
So now is the time to come out of hiding, to show and speak and share again the project I have been privately pouring my heart and mind into. Yet, I tremble and pause.
Always, there is a risk when you step into the arena.
What if I fail? What if what I create isn’t as good as I hope it will be?
My twitter profile describes me as “hopelessly happy”. How true and easy this was when the stakes were low, when there weren’t other people depending on me for their paychecks, then my failures weren’t so painfully public, when all I needed was to show up on the job and be slightly better than the schmo’ on my right.
I come from a cowgirl family. We get back on the horse after a fall. We feed the animals before we feed ourselves. If the gelding kicks you in the chest and breaks your ribs, as it did to my mother, you shut your mouth, finish your chores and go take a handful of ibuprofen.
You do not feel sorry for yourself. You do not cause any additional burden for anyone else. You take care of things and do what you have to do. If you fail, or if you drink, or if you feel pain, or if you drink, you hide it away and we all pretend not to know about it – out of respect for you.
I’m proud of my cowgirl family, of our tremendous strength and resolve. I am so thankful that I can take a hit and stubbornly stand to try, try again.
Yet also, I need help. And if I hide my losses, I may not fully commit myself to the next big win. So here we are, at the edge of yet another arena.
I close my eyes, take deep breaths and visualize bravery. Pause. A small voice whispers: It’s safer to stay on the sidelines, to do regular work that brings the regular paycheck, to apologize, acquiesce, condense, quiet.
No. That is not the life I’m built for.
It’s good to be back in the saddle again.