Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Won't Be Afraid

Whew! That was close. I almost – almost – gave in to fear…again. As noted in my previous post, I’m scheduled to be the guest artist for the month of July at a local gallery, The Storyteller’s Bookstore, as well as participating in the Wake Forest Tour of Artists this fall. But after hearing some local professional artists with many years of experience expressing sentiments of self-doubt about showing their own (quite beautiful in my opinion) works on the Tour, I began to hear those old familiar negative voices rising up in my own thoughts. After all, I am definitely an early-stage aspiring artist, only having started painting and drawing late last June, so if experienced professionals have such insecurities, what on earth about a newbie like myself?!?!? The self-doubt arose fast and furious: What if I can't do this? What if no one likes my work? What if I'm not knowledgeable/talented/creative/educated enough? What if, what if, what if? 

And while my inner child’s soul cowered in a sobbing heap on the floor admidst all the negative self-thoughts, the most beautiful, glorious, restoring words appeared in my email inbox, a silver lining to my dark cloud of insecurity. I’ve never met Dreama Tolle Perry, but reading her inspiring and encouraging blog makes me feel like she is a cherished friend. Her “Acceptance” post was precisely what my frightened soul needed, crying out to hear the words she so eloquently spoke: “What is it that we fear will happen if we accept our work as beautiful, meaningful and wondrous—just as it is now, in this moment?”
© 2014 Tammy Kaufman - Here Comes Trouble - soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix paper 4" x 3"
Her post reminded me of times past when those same negative internal voices tried to drown me in fear, but I somehow managed to embrace my imperfectly perfect self and press on: when I was in my mid-thirties and decided I wanted to learn how to ride a bicycle for the first time; the embarrassment of being a grown woman struggling to figure out simple gears and brakes and pedaling. And the list goes on and on. Despite being “too old” and “inexperienced”, not only did I learn to ride, but three years later I was competing successfully in 12-hour mountain bike races and two years after that, 24-hour races. 

24-Hour Endurance Race, Greenville NC
Well into my forties, I was racing both endurance and downhill and many times standing atop the podium both locally and nationally, in spite of the negative voices screaming that was only for the young, fearless and lean – none of which described me.

Now, thanks to the lovely reminder from my friend – thank you Dreama! - I’m kicking that insecurity and fear to the curb once again, lifting that precious inner child back up and continuing to paint what I love and love what I paint. I look forward to sharing my joy of painting with you at Storyteller’s Bookstore in July and on the Tour of Artists in September.

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