Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 18: If at first you don't succeed [scream, shout, pout, and then], try, try again

Day 18 of the Thirty Day Challenge is supposed to be all about one's biggest insecurity.  How is a person just supposed to pick one?  My dirty little secret is that I have many.  Ask my Honey, who knows and still puts up with me.  Of course I have the "normal" insecurities about weight, hair, shoe size.  Then I have a few more courtesy of all the years that I was the weirdo girl that few people liked -- usually these revolve around the fear of offending people, fear of awkward silences, fear of interaction, fear of rejection, fear of still being the weird girl few people like.  Still more insecurities are courtesy of Crazymaker: when anything is out of place in my house, it causes heartburn.  There is a reason why the house is vacuumed at least once a day (and no, it's not just because we have five furry babies).  So what am I supposed to choose?

The answer came today as I was trying to do a few art projects.  It's been a while, and so even though I have plenty of other things I should be doing, I decided to take some time for art.  This was an appropriate choice for the day because it showed to me that I still have a long way to go on my journey to creative recovery.

My first project for the day was to take these two cupboard doors that I bought at the Habitat store for $1 each and turn them into art.
The wonderful blogger at I'm a Mom, Not A Professional posted a great how-to on making silhouette art with contact paper for those of us who covet a Silhouette Machine and can't afford it.  Genius!  And I love cherry blossoms.  I took this idea and the dark cabinet and ran with it.

First of all, I must say it probably would've turned out better if my contact paper wasn't old and wrinkled.  Lesson #1 of the day.  Then I realized that this would still take plenty of time and patience because I needed to use an x-acto knife to cut this detailed picture.  Yikes!
I pressed the contact paper on, sprayed the door, used some sandpaper to distress the edges, and then pulled up the contact paper...only to find out that it wasn't laying completely flat (see Lesson #1 for the day) and so there are smudgy/blurry parts.  I was upset.
Confession: I love doing art projects, but I like feeling like there's a point/purpose/usefulness to the project.  That is part of the reason why I get so disappointed when things don't turn out.

I turned my sights to other art.  I found a pretty tree silhouette and a pretty picture of a girl sitting down and thought "I wonder if I could paint something like that with both images."  And so I tried:
The first time I tried, I didn't even make it to the image of the girl because I messed up on the tree trunk.

So I tried again.
While putting on the "finishing touches" I accidentally smudged it, tried to cover the smudge with a branch extension, and ended up being displeased with the whole result.

By this time, I was getting frustrated.  Honey at first didn't even want to talk with me because of my mood, but then I calmed down enough to hear reason.  Honey pointed out that art is supposed to be fun and relaxing, so if it's turning into a stress machine then I should leave it.  I've never taken art classes and have no idea how things are supposed to work, so I should chill.  Why do I need constant validation?  And it's okay to have things not turn out the way I want them to the first time ("Not so!" says my Guilt Monster, who likes to remind me that everything should have a purpose.  Go away, Guilt Monster!)  Most importantly, I should be doing projects because I like them, not because of what other people think.

That is when it hit me: I'm still stuck in my desperate and ridiculous need for approval.  My biggest insecurity: not being good enough.  And that is what drives me to do a bazillion things, work 20 hour days, forget how to say no and put up boundaries, and do all the other crazy things that I do.  It's in an effort to say "I'm valuable! What I do has worth! I'm good enough!" even when I don't feel that way.  Sad, I know, but true.  And something I'll try to fix because it's not a good way to live.

In the meantime, I tried the painting again.  A third time.  And while I am not entirely satisfied with it, I did discover that foam board makes a good and cheap "canvas" (Lesson #2) and that I need to stop trying to overdo it with trees (Lesson #3) and it's okay to not have everything be perfect (Lesson #4).

That's a lot of lessons!  I think it's time for a nap.


  1. I think your art is beautiful. I struggle with many of the same issues. The older I get the more I say suck it to those demons.

  2. can i ever relate... (hugs)

  3. Love your blog! Following you from blog hop.. I'm Opal from, hope you can check it out sometime.. :D

  4. I love the painting.
    Sadly, I think most people have the fear of not being good enough. I can relate to you about being the weird girl. On the outside, I look like everyone else. I guess to most I appear "normal". On the inside is where I feel like a "freak". It's always been hard to show people the real me. It's part of the reason I started blogging.
    I wish I had the patience to do arts and crafts. It's just never been my thing. I enjoyed looking at your work.

  5. I have so many insecurites I could fill a book!!Thanks for post about this, it makes us see how the same we really are!!!
    Love your art projects!

  6. I LOVE it!!! Everyone is more critical of their own art than they should be. But if you think about it, the imperfections add to the unique beauty that make it invaluable! And if all else fails, you can just "put a bird on it!" ;-)


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