For the past 10 years, I’ve been painting and drawing. There was a brief period of time when I was struggling with my mental health when I stopped. Otherwise, it’s always been a thing I’ve done in private. I’ve only ever shared my art with my family.
I don’t share it with anyone else because I’m scared. I’m scared of judgement, of not being as good as other artists I see, of being ridiculed and laughed at for my attempts. It leaks into other areas of my life, too. I don’t even share my podcast well with others because of the same reasons.
All my life, I’ve been so afraid of being seen. Of being laughed at. So I’ve always played it small, played it safe. I haven’t just remained in my lane – I’ve resigned myself to the stands and said “I’m just happy to be here!”
But I’m not. I’m not happy to be here. I see people on the pitch getting stuck in, and I wanna be in there, too.
The way I see it, it’s a branch of shame. Being ashamed that I’m not good enough, that I’m not talented enough. Just feeling less than.
On the other hand, it’s highly fucking arrogant of me to assume that people will give enough of a shit to even bother taking the time to ridicule me…
With that being said, if you’re one of the folks on the pitch being ridiculed…Good fucking job, my friend. People give enough of a shit about what you’re doing to purposefully take time to react to whatever you’re putting out in the world. Keep going. Please, keep doing whatever it is that you’re doing. We need more of that in the world.
Anyway, I’m feeling really called to step up in life. To stop looking from the sidelines and get my ass on the pitch. And it started with a painting.
This painting of Pete Doherty I did fucking years ago. I was carting it around in my craft box for years and was going to dump it in the recycling. I thought it was naff. My partner, on the other hand, rescued it and suggested he post it on The Libertines dot org Facebook group to see if someone would want it. And they did. And they also posted nice things about it, and they liked it. Not that outside validation should be a thing you constantly need to keep yourself going but, fuck…I needed it. It also proved that people aren’t as shitty as my defensive self constantly believes them to be. Spoiler alert: most people are genuinely really nice.
Someone bought it, yaknow. It’s been a dream of mine for years to sell a painting. It’s not lost on me that I’ve been practicing so many other things over the years and it was this painting that sold; painted on a forgotten afternoon when I was 24.
You know what stops shame in her tracks? Vulnerability. So, here I am. Being vulnerable. Sharing something that I find really hard to share. Now, I will watch shame sit down and be silent for a while.
If you’re in the same position, how about we stop fooling ourselves with the phrase “I’m just happy to be here!” and get our asses down onto the pitch. We’ll do it together.
And whatever you do, you’ve got me. Cheering you on. You keep being your badass self and making your mark in the world. Whatever it is you’re offering, whatever talents you have, whatever desires are in your heart…They exist for a reason, and they’ve been trusted to you because only you can birth them.
Let’s step onto the pitch.