Some famous person once said, “fear is the greatest enemy of progress.” True shit. I would also add that in some cases, fear is rooted in a lack of self confidence. I know that’s at least true when it comes to me. I think I would probably be more successful than I am, if I simply believed I could be. Almost two years ago I promised myself I was going to stop compromising my joy for stability, and really focus on pursuing my art. I even wrote about it in another blog post. And yet, at every chance I’ve gotten to put that promise to the test, I’ve chosen stability without hesitation.
I recently turned 24, and with a new year underway, I can definitely say my life is eons better than it was two years ago, or even last year. I’m back in Philly, I have a nice home, a good job, a stocked fridge, and a credit score so yellow it’s damn near green. I’m beyond blessed. But somehow, there’s still this overwhelming unhappiness inside of me. It’s not nearly as heavy as it used to be, but it’s still there, taking up more space than it should.
I finally have all the stability I’ve needed, but what happened to pursuing my art?
The true reason why I keep putting off becoming a full time artist is, I’m afraid. I’m afraid I don’t have the talent and work ethic it takes to sustain myself, I’m afraid that if I let go of this stable income, I won’t have anything to fall back on if I fail, I’m afraid my projects aren’t interesting or important or deserving of the time and energy, and I have all these fears because I lack confidence in myself and in my art. I don’t know why that is, but I do know that gaining confidence isn’t as simple as deciding to be uncompromising.
It’s difficult because I know in my heart of hearts that I’m not built to work a regular job and do art as a side gig. Art was always meant to be the whole gig, but the fact that I have all these fears preventing me from starting means, I’m not ready yet. Lord knows I’m ready in my heart, but I have to be ready in my mind too. That’s what I want to focus on in 2018. I have to remind myself that I’m only 24 and I have plenty of time to get ready. Meanwhile, I can work on tackling some of these smaller fears that aren’t a threat to my stability and try to make the best out of being an artist part time.
This year I’m also making peace with the fact that I crave stability.
I’m just the type of person that needs a safety net and a strategy before I take risks and, that’s okay. I’ve been trying to force myself in a direction that’s unnatural for me with this whole “uncompromising” thing, then beating myself up for not being able to follow through with it. But, if the first step to chasing your dreams is believing in yourself, the second step is finding a path that’s right for you. I need to stop thinking of my decisions as “compromises” and start thinking of them as building blocks towards the next stage in my life.
In 2018 I’m not facing my fears perse, but I’m gonna try to do things despite being afraid and hopefully gain some confidence in myself along the way. And who knows, maybe next year I’ll truly be ready to face that fear of pursuing my art full time. I just gotta trust the process.