â€œLiar!â€ my inner-critic shouts. â€œHow dare you think you are qualified to be called a writer or artist.â€ Turning the music up all the way to eleven does little to drown the voice of negativity that keeps me from shining my light.
A recent Facebook post stated that I was staring/grinning at a nametag given to me to wear at a fundraiser. The tag said, â€œGail Gates, Artist.â€ Simple, right? But I struggled wearing it because I felt it was a message/label of deception.
Why? I have no idea. The woman organizing the show didnâ€™t look at me with scrutiny or disbelief. She handed me the tag like it belonged on me. The other artists didnâ€™t point and laugh when they saw me or my scarves, greeting cards, and photography. No shopper wrinkled his or her nose and demanded I leave the area meant for REAL artists. So what keeps me so afraid of saying boldly and proudly,
â€œI am an artist. I am a writer.â€
Perhaps itâ€™s the same old blah, blah, blah childhood memories. All those times where I didnâ€™t measure up in my parentâ€™s eyes or expectations. In a previous post I recollected a moment when I proudly showed my father a drawing displayed in my third grade classroom. My teacher, Mrs. Becker, had not only given me an â€œAâ€ for my artistry, she had placed a fat, shiny, gold star on it as well. I knew my dad would be popping buttons and telling everyone within earshot, â€œLook at this! My daughter is an artistic genius. And sheâ€™s only in third grade!â€ But alas, he gazed on it for a few moments and said, â€œI sure wouldnâ€™t have given you an â€œAâ€ for that.â€ Cue the sound of taps as young girlâ€™s soul withers.
Or perhaps itâ€™s because real artists and writers get promoted on social media, television, and YouTube. They do talk show circuits and somehow magically pump out book after book, year after year. Or, as I saw on a PBS special, do funky things like plant mushrooms on chair cushions and get heralded as cutting edge. Me? After years of trying I still havenâ€™t cracked admission to the Minnesota State Fair Fine Art Competition. So how can I call myself an artist? All I know is the creative drive is in control. I may not think of myself as an artist or writer, but I’m creating and feel joyous in the process.
How about you? Do you ever feel like youâ€™re known for something, and yet deep down you feel like youâ€™re a fraud? Why? Letâ€™s talk about it!