Today I’m an artist. I’ve had some of my paintings accepted for an exhibition that opens on Saturday and I’m madly finishing them off, attaching D rings to the backs, signing them and packaging them for transport so I can deliver them to the gallery.
I’m freaking out. Just ask my friend Sam, who I’ve rung four times to get advice from and who keeps laughing with me. She told me to stop panicking and that if I haven’t got everything right, the gallery will be used to dealing with neurotic artists and will sort things out for me. I laughed. It was the first time I had been called a neurotic artist. And I feel like one!
If you read my post, Painting as I Am, written almost two years ago, you’ll know that’s when I started my painting journey. I had never painted a canvas in my life. I thought my brother got all the artist genes in our family and I couldn’t be an artist. But I went to a class on intuitive painting for a weekend and loved it. I’ve been painting ever since. Not with the idea of ever exhibiting, but for me, just for the pleasure it brings me. Painting has been a huge part of my meditative and healing process in the past 18 months.
My house is now filled with canvases and I’m running out of wall space. The girls keep complaining that there are too many and told me I should sell some. Other friends have come over, seen them hanging on the walls and told me I should exhibit. But it was all too scary and daunting of a prospect for me. I wasn’t a real artist. Who would want to see my paintings? Or buy them??
But since I got back from Peru, I have looked at a lot of things in my life differently. The Lares Trek changed me. I’ve had a big shift internally and have decided to take a few more leaps of faith and see where I end up.
One of those was applying to exhibit my paintings at a local gallery. I was scared to put my works out in front of the public. And scared to have them exhibited with other people’s works. That little voice in my head keeps asking “Are my works good enough?? Am I good enough??” But I filled out the application and sent it off, my heart in my throat as I did so. When the gallery got back to me and said they wanted my works, I was thrilled. I don’t care if they sell. For me, it’s about facing my fear (and that sick feeling in my stomach) and letting people see something I created.
I’ve also taken a leap of faith and submitted an article to a travel magazine in which I would love to be a regular contributor. And I’m pitching a story idea I’ve got to a couple of other magazines about another adventure I’ve organised for next month that will test me physically, mentally and emotionally again. Add in the fact that I’m working on a new business idea with a few people from around the globe and my life is full of work I love at the moment, although its also scary.
This morning when I woke up, I saw this post by Brené Brown on Instagram. It’s from her new book Dare to Lead, which I can’t wait to read.
It’s so true.
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” It’s only by facing my fears head on in the past few years that I’ve built this life that I love. A life where I get to paint and write and build projects with friends all over the world who I meet through my various travel and adventures. A life where I can support my daughters and show them what following your passions look like.
Each time I face my fears, the rewards are greater than I could ever imagine.
It’s hard work and it doesn’t happen overnight. Four years ago, my life looked very different. I was burning out at work, I was in a marriage where we didn’t nurture, support or communicate with each other, I had a social media stalker, I was exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I was a perfectionist and control freak. I was juggling so many balls at once and trying to control so many things, that life eventually came crashing down around my ears.
I had known things needed to change for quite a while but I was scared. I knew I needed to change but I was scared of that too. Scared of what that change would look like. Scared of the hurt I would cause others around me. Scared of whether I could live on my own. Scared whether I’d be able to afford being a single parent. Scared of loads of things. But I changed my life step by step. Almost every one of those steps has required facing a new fear head on.
Like many others in this world, for years I believed I wasn’t enough. It’s only through examining that belief over the past four years, going deep and working on myself I’ve come to realise I am more than enough for me. I love who I am. I love my life. And if there is something that I don’t love about my life, I have the power to change it. It’s only my fears that stop me.
When I own the fear and enter the cave, I can write my own ending. I can create anything I want to. I choose courage over comfort. I’ve seen over and over again that it pays off. I choose to live with my whole heart instead of one that is covered in armour. I may get hurt or fail in the process, but at least I will love and grow and learn. And I choose to make my life one big adventure, one where I am brave and afraid at the same time.
I’m heading back into the cave to work on my next project. See you in a few days.