A blank page..a clean slate..a fresh start and new beginning.
Feeling this enormous pressure..this sense of urgency..this need to succeed..to exceed..to do it right. Struggling with the expectation of being the first to post on this blog…the first contributor..the first to put words to image. Believing that I need to produce something that is both awesome and inspiring…and that will both please and impress this audience that I only know from the trail of comments they may choose to leave. Needing to be ‘good’. Needing to be ‘perfect’. My mind plays funny tricks on me. I remind myself to trust in my heart…to trust in what I know…to breathe long and deep and slow.
I think back to where and when it all started. My creative ‘beginnings’. That first coloring book and crayons that arrived with that unwritten directive to ‘color within the lines’..that to do anything else – would be wrong. It was followed thereafter with my first set of ‘oil’ paints accompanied by a canvas dotted with tiny numbers. 2 – green for the grass. 5 – blue for the sky. 1,3,4,6 – the colors of the dappled pony sitting in the meadow. There were no instructions. No one had to tell me to match the colors to the numbers indicated. What was never said aloud..was understood. And - later..much later – I learned that a proper sentence – was made up of a subject and predicate..a noun and a verb. Without them – a thought and composition could never be correctly written.
Too quickly I learned about expectation and perfection. How to color inside the lines…how to paint by someone else’s numbers..how to put the right words to paper… how to be the apple of everyone’s eye. Those perfectly painted canvases were displayed proudly for approval and praise. Those more perfectly structured sentences received bright gold starred stickers and A+ letter grades. I was a ‘good’ girl. I was a ‘smart’ girl. I understood what was ‘expected’. I aimed to ‘please’.
With my first camera came ‘lessons’ in shutter speeds…in aperture openings..in rules of thirds..in correct composition. I learned to focus. I learned that rules obeyed received recognition and applause…whereas those rules broken were granted no attention at all. There was always a ‘right’…and always a ‘wrong’…and never any space or room for anything in between or 'different'.
It’s no mystery or surprise as to why it is I’m feeling this need to do this perfectly..this almost paralyzing fear that it may not be just ‘so’. Staring that fear down…confronting the eye of that tiger.. I’m doing it anyway. I’m on to my mind and its funny tricks. I’m no longer interested in playing those childhood games. I know from where I began. I know now from where I am.
This time around – there are no coloring books with lines in which to color..and to no one else’s numbers must I paint. No letter grades are being handed out…and the perfectly ‘crafted’ image is all in the eyes of the beholder. Letting go of those rules that guided..that bound..that sometimes gagged. Both lost and found..I am free.
Not quite old enough to be truly wise..but no longer young enough to be that innocent and naïve. I return..and begin again.