Dipping My Toe in the Water

This is me, bravely putting myself and my words back out into the world. I am honestly scared. I don't know what will happen. And for me, someone who struggles with going with the flow instead of having to know how every moment will unfold, this not-knowing is difficult.

I've taken a two-year hiatus from blogging (with a few fits and starts) for many reasons

1. wrist pain
2. feeling like a failure
3. comparing myself to others in an unhealthy way
4. needing time to really find myself
5. needing to discover that the way to art for me is through nature and spirit

When I started out on this crazy creative adventure five years ago, I had no way of knowing where it would take me. All I knew was I wanted to write children's books. Eventually, as I nourished my inner artist, the adventure led to photography and art.

I spent each day writing, making wonderful, artsy online friends, dabbling in art, and exploring the world around me. I created an online portfolio for my photos. I helped edit an online journal. I submitted a manuscript, it was accepted, and a year-and-a-half later it became a book. It seemed like everything was working out.

But, four months after my book came out, it disappeared from the world: I had to cancel my contract with the publisher because of abysmal communication and deception.

I was devastated. I didn't want to show my face anymore. I blogged for a while, trying to put on a brave face, trying to act like this didn't completely tear me down. It did. And I couldn't seem to make anything work after that. Eventually, a year later, I quit blogging and disappeared from the community I had cherished.

The experience with the book taught me a lot. I found out that I can do many things I didn't realize I could do. I learned that standing up for myself is an important way to take care of myself. I learned that even though the book isn't around anymore, I am still a published author. I tend to avoid calling myself that, but friends and family won't let me forget that I accomplished something big.

There was a shadow side to the situation too. And though the shadow lessons are much ickier, they are often even more valuable.

Intense feelings of failure caused me to go underground. I did not want anything to do with writing or children's books. I really felt like it was all over. How could I continue when the one thing I had built up as the thing that would launch my career had dissolved?

I continued to take pictures, which probably saved my inner artist. But I stopped believing that I could ever truly call myself a writer or an artist. Instead, I lived vicariously through the artistic friends I had made. I cheered them on, mostly in my own head, because talking or emailing with them made me acknowledging my lack of art and writing.

Eventually, I lost touch with, or drifted away from, the amazing community I had become a part of. I regret this now. I stayed in the shadows, lurking on blogs and projecting all of my hopes onto the artists I had bonded with. I felt jealous at times that they were experiencing such success. And I started to feel anger. Why was it happening for them and not for me? I didn't realize at the time that this jealousy and anger stemmed from my deliberate squashing of my own artist self. They were doing nothing more than being their amazing, sparkling selves. I was the one with a problem; I was the one who had pulled a thick, deceptive veil over my eyes.

Part of this murky mess was my fear of failing again. I kept myself very small, so that I would not get noticed. That way, if I did fail, not as many people would know about it. (As an aside, I now realize that the whole mess with the book was not a failure. But, boy, my mind sure wanted me to believe it at the time, and it hindered me for a long time. In fact, I still cannot bring myself to think about writing in any serious way.)

Some bit of me still wanted to try being in the art world, though. I had a couple photography shows at a local tea bar. I sell my photography on Etsy. But I didn't want to launch myself out there in any big way for fear of feeling the sting of disappointment again.

That all changed over the last two months. I had a life-changing dream. After much time spent contemplating it and the synchronicities that occurred after I had the dream, I realized I had to let my artist out again. But this time, I had to let her out with the intention not to come from a place of ego, but from a deeper, more spiritual place within. I knew this would help in two ways: it would allow my light to truly shine, and it would help keep me from comparing myself to all the other amazing and talented artists out there so I could instead honor my process.

If I can come from a spiritual place, I can see that there is room for all of us, that the more artists the better, because the world desperately needs artists.

In addition, I discovered that my connection with nature, in conjunction with my intuition, is going to be the path to my creativity. I have already begun working with this and it is completely enlivening. It feels amazing to have this clarity.

And so, here I am, writing this post. Laying it all out there. I hope to share this leg of my journey with honesty and humility and with the intention that this sharing will come from my heart, not my head. I am so grateful that second chances exist.


Toni said...

Katrina - I always tell my three sons--while also keeping this idea a the forefront of my own mind--"Mistakes are your best teachers." I'm trying to teach them young that to fail is to learn, to get back up, dust yourself off, and try again. I do think the pain of failure (whether real or perceived) puts more of a fight into us, makes the later victories won from wisdom that much sweeter.

Also: I think this idea you expressed, "I can see that there is room for all of us, that the more artists the better" is the single most powerful concept any creative person should internalize. I think many of us grow up with the idea that there's only one pie and we've gotta fight each other to get our slice. Until the day we realize that there's pie for everyone--infinite pie, how cool is THAT? That can be the most freeing day of all; I know it was for me. I work closely with people with whom I'm in direct competition, and we're able to do so because we know there's enough work out there for each of us, and we support rather than denigrate or undermine each other. Colleagues and friends like that? Total keepers. May you find the same, soon (if you haven't already).

kelly rae said...

i heart your heart and art and soul and COURAGE and leaps and risks. you are a deep deep inspiration. i hope you know that.

and i am so GLAD you started this blog!!!!

big hugs and xoxoox

Bridget said...

Amazing story! It is great to see you grow and all the ways it is unfolding. Thanks for your honesty!