I’m back into reading real paper books. Today I’ve been down sick and slept half of it away. I’m currently nursing on a mattress on the lounge room floor while Poppy and Rose nap next to me. I’m reading about how Amanda Palmer makes her art and feeling equal parts inspired and intimidated. What am I doing? Will I be able to pull together another solo exhibition this year?
Right now I’m sick and I feel scared and broken and small. Rose is the one who sits with me on nights like this and strokes my back and reminds me that there is no real place I can reach where I will be safe from feeling not good enough. They are echoes of childhood bullies, they are the voice of imposter syndrome, what Amanda calls her Fraud Police.
The Art of Asking – sometimes it feels like trying to describe the Arctic to a desert dweller. I wrestle with asking. I struggle to see myself and my skills as valuable. When my neurotic fears are contradicted I go on an emotional high for days or even weeks where anxiety has no hold over me and I can do everything I’ve been trying to do with grace and confidence. At some point the opposite reaction often accompanies it – the first time someone donated money to me for writing this blog I took to bed and cried for half a day. Just putting up the ‘support me’ button left me reeling for a week, fighting every thing in me that said not good enough and not okay.
So I read and I try to learn. I’ve been running my networks for years now, unpaid, paying for printing and paint and domain names and spending hours on emails and support. Every now and then I spitball fundraising ideas with friends, talk about putting the board back together… but the asking is too much. I have to make my own way through this. Amanda has a confidence and a broad appeal I’ll never know. But I have learned that to some, like my beloved Rose, what I do matters and has worth and means something. You give my work – my art, my writing, my advocacy, value. And you just hold the space for me, when I’m being shiny and dazzling, or quiet and thoughtful, or wounded and hurting. Some days I speak to your pain with gentleness. Others I radiate fear and you send back to me love and support. It’s all very human and rather beautiful in its way. We muddle through.