Disappointment. Art has been deeply disappointing for me. Creation after creation, my heart feels downcast; my mind troubled with the shame of failure. I believe there must be a reason to continue creating, though most of my being questions why I ceaselessly set myself up to fail. I have wondered over this for some time; what is the reason I cling to, that I need to create? Almost in the same way that I need to breathe, sleep or drink water. During times of questioning art in my life, people have asked me: but does it bring you joy? And I can't honestly say that it does. Not always. But do I need it? Yes. It brings me life in a way I can't explain. It brings me peace like I'm more fully accepting what I am created to be—a creator—even if I think that I suck at it.
Disappointment. I don't believe there is a way one can create incorrectly. If there were a formulaic way to create, it wouldn't be creation—it would be copying. To copy isn't bad, because it is a significant way to build skills! It can be harmful though if you don't eventually embrace those skills, let go of the fear of the unknown, and step out on your own to make something new. And who am I to speak as though I know what it's like to be vulnerable. I am realizing right now in my life, that one of the things I consider to be so deeply important in life, is one of the things that I lack in the most important places of my own. I logically know that there is nothing to lose in my life; why would there be, when I honestly struggle to value my very existence on any given day? But my mind doesn't always make sense. I still build up walls, I still hold incredibly special people at a distance from my heart, and I still store my pens and pencils away from the danger of being used.
Disappointment. To keep experiencing disappointment, creation after creation, one could argue it is for the reason of getting closer to the destination of what you want to be someday. Maybe that is true, but how can I count on ever being good enough to my own eyes? I can't. I might never have the patience to draw the detail that I see in my imagination. I might never have the time to learn to paint the pictures I create behind my eyelids. I might never have the words to write the books I dream about while I run, or the money to build the homes I construct in my dreams. I think I keep creating, I keep putting up with my continuous failure, as a practice of learning to live in a life plagued with shame. A way to teach me how to have grace, for myself first, so that I can have grace for others. As a way to see the beauty in the ugly, in the imperfect, in the pain and in the stumbling. To find value in the practice, not in the product. To value the disappointment of the outcome, purely for the lesson it was in the practice. To share these creations, to let down these walls, so that I might connect with others through the humility and vulnerability of my practice, not from the pride and insecurity of what I make, what I say, or what I do.
I don't know if I'll ever shake the disappointment of not meeting up to my own vision. But I know I'll never be the softer, genuinely gracious and freed human that I want to be if I don't give into the risk of vulnerability. The persistence of choosing to embrace the positive growth of my failure, the hurt of rejection, the joy of acceptance, the kindness of grace, the love, the beauty and the peace that's hiding just behind the walls created by my fears of failure. The barriers that I build myself, that my attitude allows others to build, and that nature builds to reject the absurdity of my pride. These impede the connection I seek. That connection—that is the freedom from loneliness and the beauty behind the curtain of fear.