We cannot escape fear. We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us on all our exciting adventures… Take a risk a day – one small or bold stroke that will make you feel great once you have done it.
– Susan Jeffers
Sometimes we get so caught up in doing things RIGHT, we do nothing at all. Perfectionism is the root of this evil and Julia Cameron has a great deal to say about it in her book, The Artist’s Way. The following is a paraphrased excerpt:
Perfectionism has nothing to do with getting it right. It has nothing to do with fixing things. It has nothing to do with standards. Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead.
It is a loop – an obsessive, debilitating closed system that causes you to get stuck in the details of whatever you are trying to create. So much so, you completely lose sight of the whole. The perfectionist fixes one line of a poem over and over again, until no lines are right. The perfectionist writes, paints, creates with one eye on her audience. Instead of enjoying the process, the perfectionist is constantly grading the results.
Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us nothing we do will ever be good enough… that we should try again. An entire redo. Start the whole thing over from scratch.
I’ve seen this apply to many areas of women’s lives – scrapbooking, photography, sewing, running… even mommy-ing. Instead of enjoying the process, we judge ourselves by the harshest light. We spend too much of our time worrying about what others might think instead of risking authenticity.
Are you willing to take the risk?
Fear kept me from stepping out creatively, from following my gut. I spent a great deal of time focusing on others’ expectations instead of “enjoying the process”; Me Ra Koh’s photography workshop helped me to refocus. I’ve since given myself permission to step into the unknown, dream big, and follow my creative urges.
One creative itch I am now attempting to scratch is a fascination I have with self-portraits (“selfies”). When I take pictures of myself:
I am stepping out of my comfort zone
I am expressing something about myself artistically
- I gain a new perspective by paying attention to the world around me
I gain insight about myself through the images
I am capturing moments of my everyday life
I am leaving a fingerprint for my children
About a week ago, I began a daily photo project with all of this mind. I even created a new blog for it on Tumblr (a free microblogging website which is very easy to use). I chose a template for it which looks like a photo mosaic wall (when viewing from a mobile device, click on “standard view” at the bottom otherwise the images will be posted differently). You can also share quotes, links, words – pretty much anything you want on Tumblr. I decided to keep things simple by posting one photo a day along with a blurb that includes specs for the camera (or app) used. It’s called 40 Days of Selfies and can be viewed by clicking HERE.
If you end up starting your own photo project on Tumblr, let me know; I’d love to follow along!