Intimidation. For many, the word carries a heavy burden. It conjures up pinpricks of anxiety and psychological distress, a fear of things known and unknown. For the creative being, whether you are an artist or writer, intimidation may exist in many forms. It may serve as a corrosive barrier preventing you from reaching out with full creative expression, a mountain for which you may never ascend. It is corrosive in the sense that we become numb to our own illusion. We convince ourselves that victory is unattainable, that success will elude us, that failure will be devastating.
As an artist and writer, I have learned to walk this tightrope of introspection. I have marched through storms of agony and self-doubt knowing my work may be rejected, misunderstood, inferior.
On and on the subtle shades of gray merge with limitation, but I am not here to address my insecurities, I am here to face them head-on. I am here to kiss that white elephant and let others know that intimidation is perfectly natural. In fact, it is quite necessary…
Yes, without fear, without the intimidation which gives us greater pause for concern, we may never grow beyond our comfort zone. We may possess all the talent and creative spark in the world, but if we subject ourselves to the achievements of others who have seemingly discovered success, then we may as well stuff our personalities away in a cardboard box. That’s right. Stick your head in the sand. Pack it up and go home. Put yourself back in the box, right there along with your paintbrushes, typewriters and flimsy ego. We can spend our days scrambling in futility, trying to make sense of our own personal resentment, that sinister timebomb ticking away in our conscience.
The fact is, quitting will be far worse for your soul. To surrender is to acknowledge defeat, a sly victory for the dark forces conspiring within. Anything you do to facilitate this white-flag mentality will belong to you. The failure will become your own vacant property. Pointing fingers and making excuses will be a sad biproduct of your own lack of confidence.
It’s true that we can’t all make a dent in the glacier of our dreams, but never put down your sword. Just remember that we are not always working from a position of privilege. While some artists and writers may have golden connections or a distinguished education, others are being groomed from a much different playground. Indeed, some are cut from the fabric of reality, complete with pain, instincts, and real-world experience. These virtues can never be measured in dollars or merchandise. They are intangibles which drive us forward into battle, a blazing chariot from which we stake our reputation, our kingdom, our pride.
I will always appreciate talent. I will always envy those who have the desire and fortitude to put their work front and center. Whether it is appealing or not is irrelevant. Whether you can move mountains or impress agents remains to be seen, but to put that bold statement in front of eyeballs is the first step toward breaking the ice. It may take months or even years, but we slowly chip away at that iceberg until a sculpture emerges. The key is not about giving up, it is about acknowledging the intimidation before it consumes your objective, of seeing that little goblin hiding in the shadow. Never fool yourself into the trap, because it’s a one-way ticket to misery.
Don’t make a thumbsucker out of your passion, because your talent is a gift that comes from your heart, and that is something no one can ever take from you…