SuperListenMode 268: A Letter with more Artist Feelings

SuperListenMode: A Letter with more Artist Feelings

One day I hope to be better at art!
I’m sure I’m not alone :’)
I wonder “what’s next?!” every time I finish something.
What I should act and commit on next.
The fears, sadness, indecision, frustration, existentialism, insecurity and uncertainty, failures and perfectionism that comes with risky, exciting, fun, challenging and meaningful things.

All part of the learning journey.

I was told that I was similar to Yoko Taro in that we both have succeeded in things but we don’t feel like we have at all. He’s also just an inspiring, brilliant person doing what he believes in. Not that I’m anywhere as successful as he is but I do agree with his responses about popularity. It’s great and amazing when it happens and undoubtedly super beneficial career-wise but it’s not something to chase. It’s detrimental to one’s well being and mental health to equate your self worth with audience numbers, reputation and fame. Tending on comments and responses to keep the cycle of passive connection, feedback and interaction going. Such an easy thing to fall into and I try to keep out of that quicksand. It’s hard when you’re a mostly solitary butt like me.
As I said before, even your friends aren’t really your target market for your own work. They’re there to support *you*, not to actually fund, hire or commission what you do.
There’s been multiple times where peeps say 1) they’d fund and support me but didn’t because they financially can’t or don’t care that much about my work 2) or generous people I haven’t spoken to or know that well supporting my work and 3) the few people who are both my friend and supporter of my work.
Plus people and the world move on fast. For the next new, great, interesting thing. Change is constant and we keep evolving to be able to do what we believe in.

So I move on fast, forget my accomplishments and start from the bottom again every time like a newbie. At the risk of taking what I already have for granted, struggling from square one and feeling like a fraud too much. Fighting that feeling away all the time!

Who am I in terms of art???? Aaaah!! Existentialism!

It’s difficult because I’ve grown up with the belief and shame that being an artist was not a viable nor valuable thing to do, which led to my brief teaching career. I am humbled and yet find it hard to believe compliments as I don’t feel worthy to my own standards [hard to let go of them and be kinder with myself! I am intensely critical of myself.]

I have been heavily conditioned to doubt and not believe myself as what I enjoyed doing was heavily opposed. I have some ingrained self loathing, anxiety for some degree of control through my actions and I keep wanting to prove to myself that I’m not a fraud and I “deserve” this through hard work and learning.
And feeling like a hermit, lonely, self depreciating alien :’)

Here I am, still trying to manage my feelings of unworthiness, fighting the internalised self loathing and resentment for not being someone who has her life and art together, figuring out what sings to my heart, focusing too much on what I lack, working super hard to stay relevant in a way that is true to me and being grateful, humbled I get to do art for a living day by day.

Gotta fight those lies my fears are feeding me as a kind soul reminded me a long while ago. I’m learning to be more self aware and I’m tired of feeling negative thoughts about myself. Stuff that noise. Let those thoughts out of fear be acknowledged and vent it out, perhaps with a trusted friend. Let those thoughts float in your mind, not act on them and let them pass.

Sometimes I’m in a bad head space and negative thoughts come back. That happens too in waves! Especially when things gets tense and annoying with my father. A learning journey. Striving to not blame and shame myself for it. Just my noisy fears and worries talking.

Sit with those mixed and sad feelings.

Allow yourself time to take care of your mental health and heal.
Let those feelings pass.

Thinking negative things about yourself and your self worth doesn’t have to be the norm. Taking it too seriously is detrimental to your mental and even physical health. Your art is not equal to your personal self worth. Trust that you did your best with what you have as you are dealing with growing pains. Reminding myself here again, as always. Even if things and people are disappointing and feels like failure, I strive to see failure as a guide to what not to do next time. (:

So 2018 hasn’t been super great or bad for me

It was a mixed bag of good and bad! Loads of burn out, disappointment and growing pains.

Some of the bad:

  • Creative rut kept going for the whole year till now to various degrees since my 2017 conference talks. An internal crisis where I couldn’t find a way to meet all of my creative needs. I neglected this especially in my personal art. Experimented sometimes but I remain lost and confused.
  • Plus I pushed myself too hard, crunched and burnt out at learning and doing vector art and UI art for work. I didn’t even particularly enjoy vector art or UI art. They were things I had to do and to do them well. It was a struggle up this mountain and I’m still climbing. I didn’t want to let anyone down. There were periods where I worked from home to avoid replacement buses and to get things done towards my need for standards. Work consumed my life for quite a long while this year.
  • All this and a lot of stress-related physical symptoms resulted in the ongoing learning journey of figuring out how to relax and take care of my physical and mental health. Seeking a lot of health professionals for help. I struggle with this heaps. I have a lifetime habit of tunnel vision, being reserved and working too much.
  • I felt distant, isolated, adrift and forgotten with most people, at work, let alone the industry. And the only industry thing I did was MIGW18. Loneliness was/is taking it toll on me.
  • Family not great every other day or moment, as usual.
  • Accepting heartbreak, rejection, loneliness, singledom and friends/acquaintances moving on and feeling more alien.
  • getting too addicted to social media, youtube and streams when I’m bored, need to relax or to keep my mind off things

Some of the good:

  • always learning more about myself, my boundaries and personal limits
  • I’m average at vector art since I have to do it for work so yay, I’m better at it? A bit more confident and I don’t mind doing it now? I keep saying that because I prefer to do other art instead haha I still have lots to learn and room to struggle with vector art. 🙁
  • cherishing the kind few lunch, work and game buddies I have!!! To be able to share and ramble about problems with them. <3 To focus on people who matter, care and value me ;P
  • learning to let go of people who are indifferent and distant with me. I’m pretty reserved, picky, low energy, disinterested and aloof on my end though. :< When I feel up to it, sometimes I have my feeble, awkward attempts to be friendly too. Usually it doesn’t work out and that’s okay. Socialising…ahhhh!
  • realising how I need people to explicitly tell me how they’re feeling or what they need because sometimes I’m off the mark reading people. But many aren’t great at taking initiative and being direct about what they want, myself included. For me, it’s because I don’t see the point or ability to be acknowledged or make a difference.
  • that I’m caring less when I’m keeping distant and/or cutting people out of my small trusted circles. My respect, trust, time and energy needs to be earned over a long period of time after much deliberation + gut feeling. There have been people who have lost my respect and trust and I’m better at letting them go and keeping them distant. They don’t have time for me so I don’t have time for them anymore in terms of priority. Especially if I’m always an optional person to talk to for them.
  • slowly taking more responsibility for my mental and physical well being. I’m not great at it yet! It’s hard and scary! It’ll take considerable time to get years of bad habits and emotional baggage managed better :’)
  • the only sense of community I felt was when I posted those Speaker BurpDoodles. This might be seen as a bad thing too ;P Gosh I need to make it more fun for me next time I do it.
  • I’m getting better at embracing what I *really* want. I always have two parties going at each other: my critical voice telling me I need to have more friends/experiences, figure out my life and I need to get a social life while my heart/body just wants to retreat from people, practice self care, spend time with a few good friends, enjoy and learn art on my own. I think I need to follow my heart, well-being and my needs.
  • that I need to manage my critical voice and work with it…somehow.

My 2019 creative focus

…is to explore new things, better my technical skills, have fun and fail fast with personal art on a regular/weekly basis next year. Enjoy time away from social media. Be open to opportunities. Keep art for duty/work/business versus art for myself balanced. Figure out how to recover and heal from burn out, prevent it and get out of this creative rut.

I want to do what I believe in and learn to be better and true to myself as a person and artist. Let go of figuring out what’s “wrong” with me. Accept who I am better. Keep learning and embrace my progress, struggle and growth. At least I have some hope and confidence in that :’)

Just need to make sure I have kind peeps I trust I can vent, problem solve and bounce off ideas with <3 Focus on people who truly matter.

Hey, learning is what keeps me going ♥

Art & Comic Patreon | Ko-fi