A few years ago, as I was preparing to join my first art market, I remember having a discussion with myself regarding my anxiety on putting my work out there.
I felt soooo self-conscious. I kept questioning the quality of my work, my skills, and whether I deserved to have a spot in the open at all, together with a bunch of other creatives.
I’ve never had a problem creating art and being spontaneous with it. If anything, it’s where I felt the most free. It’s my happy place. On the flip side, sharing my work was something else.
So there I was, walking back and forth, with clammy hands I prepared for my big day. I organized my items and all the publicity materials that I’d be bringing with me the next day, the day of the art market.
I WAS DREADFUL.
I was still unsure if I was gonna join even up to the point where I was done prepping. In the corner of my mind I thought I could still back out, yes, despite weeks of painting for hours and spending all my savings on my hand painted bags.
A voice broke my rumination; I heard her screaming in my mind’s ear:
“Simply go the fucking do it. Put your fucking work out there.”
“You will know what’s gonna happen once you’ve done it. For now, stop ruminating about it.”
So I did. I went to the art market. I put my work out there. And I was able to sell them (I didn’t even believe people would actually pay for them but they did!). I also met many friendly and interested people. I caught some people smiling at my bags. People took photos. The world didn’t break apart and swallowed me whole. No one humiliated me.
Since then I conquered my fear of sharing my work with the world. I kept joining art markets. It didn’t always go well (monetarily, speaking) and many times I felt as though I was wasting my time. But something delicious and unexpected came of out it – the confidence to put not only my work, but also myself out there (’cause when you’re sharing something you’ve created, you’re inevitably sharing yourself, too, especially if you’re also the one marketing and selling them).
This confidence is no longer limited to my hand painted bags but to all forms of self-expression; be it my writing, dancing in public, putting on make-up and dressing myself up the way I want to, making jokes, among others.
That voice might have sounded harsh to me at that time, but she was right for pushing me to just go for it. Now to you my self-conscious friend I say, stop ruminating and go the fucking put yourself out there! Do it for yourself! There’s a space for each of us in this world. Own yours and use it. 😉