May 12th, 2021

Pretty Hachi - girlgamer

On Creative Self-Doubt, Fun, and Freedom of Art

Self-doubt is my default state. My brain was forever changed from absorbing and believing the words of my peers. I've been away from them for sixteen years, but they live on inside me. And often those words are triggered by things I read. Hateful posts. Extreme criticism. Ugly fighting. Shaming. It flips a switch in my brain. My chest tightens, and I can't breathe. I start to hate myself again.

Even now that I've dedicated myself to my own path and discovered how good it can feel, I'm constantly anxious about doing it "wrong". Making the "wrong" choices, focusing on the "wrong" things. And "falling behind". Even more than I already have. Because anxiety has stolen so much time from me already.

The people who've criticized us in the past, both those who loved and disliked us, and the people and communities we surround ourselves with now, plant the seeds of self-doubt in us. But we water them. We're often the ones holding ourselves to impossible standards. And not honoring our own path and how far we've come. I took my new books to the local store last week. Afterwards, instead of feeling proud of being an author of two books, I started to panic about what was next. The pressure of writing another book filled me with dread, when what I want to feel is appreciative of having written two books and excited for the freedom and possibilities ahead.

It's so easy to feel good about the process when the lifeforce of creation is flowing through you, and creating is as natural as breathing. But you can't be in that part of the cycle constantly. It would be exhausting. It can feel almost unbearable to allow yourself rest, real rest without guilt or expectations. I'm constantly battling with feelings of unworthiness regarding rest, peace, and even joy. But I know, deep inside, that rest is vital to my creative process.

I've been trying to recondition myself to honor the things that make me feel good. Freedom. "Fun". (Which my serious nature had long treated as a bad word.) I want to create with freedom and joy. And I don't just mean writing. Designing the new craft room is making me want to play with art in ways I've not allowed myself since I was very young. Back when I realized I couldn't draw to save my life. But art is more than just drawing, and it doesn't have to be "good" to be valuable to our lives. We should create for the love of it. For the joy and emotional release it can bring.