Yesterday, I had the privilige of speaking to a group of colleagues, members of the Women's Art Association of Hamilton, at the Art Gallery of Hamilton.
Months ago, I was approached to present to the group on the topic of mosaics. As you can imagine, I was honoured, excited and had the Dreaded Dooms. You know what I mean... that little voice that echoes so loudly in your head when someone dares to suggest that you are competent, interesting, or have value to add. The voice that reminds you how little you know, how you are exceptionally untalented, and that all of your success was only by chance. (Yeah, Dreaded Dooms is a bit of a nasty piece of work.)
So, as per usual, I procrastinated. For some reason, I drown out DD best when under considerable time restraints. I also procrastinated because I do consider myself an able speaker, especially when I am speaking about something that I love so much. The day before my presentation, I sat down to actually plan my talk. With visuals to guide me, I knew I was ready.
In the spirit of going to meet an old friend, I packed up samples of my work, my tools, promotional material, and my powerpoint for further visuals. I then proceeded to leave some of that in my foyer as I zipped out of town, but hey, that proves my humanity. Sitting beside me, Dreaded Dooms reminded me that no one would probably show up. I cranked my music and sang my heart out so I couldn't hear her nagging.
My audience was engaged as I shared my mosaic journey. They related to the difficult challenges that brought me back to my art. They asked insightful questions about the technical aspects of creating glass mosaics. They celebrated my successes, and applauded my work. When I looked around the room as I presented, Dreaded Dooms was nowhere to be seen. For a presence so loud and so hard to shake, she was conspicuously absent. Positive energy scares her away. Dreaded Dooms is quite the chicken. She only preys on weakness.
What I have discovered, is that my weaknesses of procrastination and perfectionism...
side note:If you procrastinate, you are not giving it your all, so you thereby mentally remove the expectation of perfection. It is common in overachievers. Unfortunately, while removing the pressure of perfection, it does usually also remove the potential for 'perfection'. One of many dysfunctions, shared by many!
...have built a wonderful strength and resilient skill: being present and authentic and speaking from my heart instead of from a notepad. I love to engage with others, and have the opportunity to communicate about my art: both my intention, and the perceptions of others. So, as tiresome as DD is, I have to thank her. She has forced me to rise above my fears, connect despite my inadequacies and grab onto the opportunities others might deny.
So, go ahead Dreaded Dooms, tell me how horrible this next piece will be, and that everyone will suddenly wake up and realize how awful my mosaic skills are... I'll be happy to crank my tunes, sing my heart out, and prove you wrong.