Mediocrity vs. Paralysis

Synchronicity can be a powerful, powerful thing. I don’t know what causes two apparently disconnected things to smash into each other within our psyche creating an entire new world of meaning – but I know that it happens, and I know it seems to happen to me right when I need it the most.

The first thing, was a conversation with my mother, wherein she dashed all my hopes and dreams about doing something meaningful in my life from this office chair overlooking my back garden. She thinks I have to go to school, to meet people like me, and to have my work analysed to improve it. That makes sense to me, and I appreciate that she’s correct, but how, logistically, is a person then going to do that? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could just walk over to the university around the corner, tell them what I want to learn, they give me a class listing, and I show up to learn. If I hadn’t squandered all my money from mining on drugs, new experiences, and booze (no I don’t mean hookers when I say new experiences, I mean travelling and friends mostly) perhaps I would have the $40,000 I need to do that; but then, of course, I wouldn’t be here, writing a post about self-destruction…

The second thing happened the next morning; I watched a video that a friend posted on Facebook about “The Law of Attraction” which I have always slammed away into the “hogwash and fairies” box – especially if it’s related to “The Secret” – but I decided to give it a chance. The guy in the video, very eloquently and simply, explained all the parts of our psyche that are responsible for our behaviors, perceptions, and actions. He explained that when we download any information about the external world, from when we were babies in particular, it gets stored in our subconscious mind; he called this collection of information a “paradigm”. He said this “paradigm” is always getting in the way of our ability to make significant changes in our lives, no matter how hard we work to be “positive” and “proactive” in our conscious minds. He then said, “I’ll tell you how to shift this paradigm in another video, later.” Aha! you bastard; I knew you weren’t going to solve my life’s problems in that  6 minute video, how dare you hook me in like that!? But he sure did get me thinking about this “paradigm”…

I’ve been working really hard trying to figure out how to do what I want to do, and always end up back here, in the same place I started, staring at an empty bank account, a bunch of ok paintings screaming for attention, and this terrifying hopelessness that I’ll never really figure it out. I’m forever running around, writing books, drawing cartoons, making paintings, making websites, making banana bread, getting jobs, talking shit, researching drugs, writing blog posts, reading books, and yet, nothing significantly changes. I keep ending up in this cycle of hopelessness. So, this video alerted me to the fact that just maybe, I might have a toxic paradigm clogging up my psyche which is impacting my ability to make a significant change in my life; this paradigm might be the origin of self-destruction that keeps me trapped in self-protective mediocrity and out of alignment with something far greater than my own comfortable indulgences.

Now to the sinchronicity; what previously was a frustrating conversation with my “realistic” (shall we say “pessimistic”?) mother, now became a giant signpost in the direction of my “toxic paradigm”.

I realised that it could be possible that my paradigm was constructed by people who do not know, themselves, how to be happy and successful in pursuing a creative life. My seeking guidance and support from them is like asking a drunk how to stay sober. This is not their fault, at all, they’re trying their best to make their own lives work, and have given me incredibly valuable skills and plenty of opportunity to figure mine out myself, but I never grew up past that point. I am still waiting for them to tell me how to do it. Their model was useful in 1980, pre-internet and children, and our society has drastically changed in those 35 years. They’re good at what they do, but I don’t want their life. So why am I asking my mother then, instead of creating a life I want? Ah… fear. Would you believe it?

So why haven’t I been studying, getting better, meeting people, and pushing my boundaries? I realised that I am absolutely terrified of going back to school because of all the memories of failure I have therein. I have never succeeded at any previous institution, and I am directly (subconsciously and now consciously) sabotaging my ability to grow because I’m terrified of that opportunity to fail. I’m frightened that my own shame about being “not good enough” will destroy my ability to enjoy my work, and I will run screaming, as I always do, back to a bottle or a boy or a silly job that makes me feel like a queen among the ants…

“Oh Sally, have you seen Lorna’s desk? It’s covered in all kinds of wonderfully weird doodles, she’s incredibly talented you know. Why is she still working here? Oh, because she’s terrified an actual artist might see the mediocrity in her work, and due to her insecurity, constantly seeks validation from us here at the office because we don’t understand the craft well enough to criticise it. And if we do, she can say to herself, goodness me, that idiot doesn’t know what the fuck they’re talking about’, and she can just forget about it.”

It’s not right, and I know it. I’m not saying that anyone who isn’t an artist is an idiot, far from it, I’m just saying that I’m so terrified of other artists, that I’d rather hide my artwork from anyone who has an understanding of the craft than feel bad about how much more I have to learn. That’s a stupid mentality, and I’m the idiot – all this does is keep me from being able to do what I really want to do, and perpetually stuck in a destructive battle with my own psyche. So my current paradigm of “the way the world is” looks a bit like this:

      Art is impossible to get right, and only very special people get it right. You’re not one of them.
      Artists struggle, and are stressed all the time about money.
      No one appreciates artists, and they never really have time to appreciate you.
      You have to go to university to understand how to do anything, and to get respect from other people.
      You have to spend a lot of time doing things you hate in order to get time to do things you like.
      You have no right to do what you want when you want, because those are the rules!
      Its ok for an adult to tell you when you can pee, when you can go for a walk, when you can talk, and when you can eat.
      You didn’t do anything right at school, because you are too lazy to finish what you start.
      You failed out of university because you’re way too lazy to challenge yourself.
      You’ve been making tons of money and doing everything you hate because you have to pick one or the other.
      When you have an opportunity to do what you love, you always quit out of fear and doubt.

Grim indeed.

So how do I fix it? I don’t know, I’m waiting for the next video…

 

 

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