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…

Aaron Towle
Aaron Towlehttp://www.repdigest.com/
Aaron Towle is a Multimedia Artist living in Green Cove Springs, FL. He proudly served in the military as a journalist and now works as a developer in the Defense Contracting Industry. He is passionate about art, literature, and photography and looks to continue building his credentials as a professional writer. He currently produces an online publication called Reprehensible Digest, which explores the subtle dynamics between art and literature.


  1. I enjoyed you story. I was taught at an early age to over come being afraid or being intimidated. My daddy always built us up and opened the path of courage, boldness and taught me us be Dragon slayers, daddy called it a way of being. That being said I too try to lift others up so they do not fear and greet the world with confidence . Thank you for sharing.

  2. GREAT ARTICLE, Aaron! Nobody likes to be intimated, put down, or walk around with self-doubt. Sooner or alter failure will become a part of our vocabulary it does not mean you the person failed or failure but that which you tried failed to work out. We have all heard the stories of Henry Ford, Thomas Edison who failed time after tile before ultimately. They were not alone. You may never succeed at realizing your dream or goal but failure is not a term you should let anybody attach to you. We all succeed at thongs that others did not and could not.

    • Thanks again Joel, and you are right about not giving up. Everyone has a reason and a purpose, and the sooner we let our limitations define us, the sooner we may as well drop out of the race. It doesn’t matter what we do in life, as long as it makes us happy and that we do our best trying to make an impact. Ultimately it is up to you to put in the hard work that takes you from point A to point B…

  3. Excellent article, Aaron. This journey of writing has been a long (and not very lucrative) one. Fortunately, the great comments are enough compensation for the moment but I’m not giving up on the idea of making it a career.

    • I know what you mean John. It’s definitely a challenge to earn a living as a writer, and so I only write for fun at this point, free of editors mucking up my vision or changing the inflection of my words. There are millions of writers in the world, but only one John Dunia, so write your story the way you see fit and don’t even bother with critics or naysayers. They will only waste your time…

  4. Aaron – brave and you expressed the deepest aspects of what many or all of us have felt at certain times or even many times of our lives. I believe that we all want to live in our fullest creative expression and that is our gifts to share with the world. You said it beautifully – each soul has a unique gift. If we can keep it in mind then maybe we can pick ourselves up and keep moving on…one step, but one step at a time. I adored this Aaron and I want to connect with you on LI. Have a great day with your work and your gifts you are bringing to each of us.

    • Such a kind and endearing message Maureen, thank you so much. It took me years to rediscover my purpose, what I was supposed to do with the art and writing. It was a painful process, but once I discovered an audience with an open mind, they gave me the courage to share my work and ideas without fear. I needed to do something outside of the corporate body, years of giving to thankless managers. It was a living, but I was no longer satisfied creatively. I needed to discover for myself how much I had to give, as well as how much they underestimated my potential all those years in the little grey cubicle. Anyway, I’m only just beginning on this journey, and I’d be delighted to connect with you on LI… Thank you again for your kind words of support ?
      – Aaron