I’m sitting here on a Sunday afternoon while my very type-A, productive, industrious sweetie wrecks the kitchen doing 50 things with chickpeas, making kombucha (no really, she calls it ‘the buch’, and today’s is her third batch), making a flower arrangement from yard flowers, meal prepping for the week, and generally going toe to toe with her doubts, fears and issues, shaking their hand, sitting them firmly on the couch and moving on. Because she’s like that, and able to do that. Unlike others of us who come face to face with the same, listen to their 5 day long monologue, take another 10 days to think about it, agree with their shit, ask them to repeat it for clarity, and then sit and stare at the ceiling in despair, all while walking in circles around the house and half heartedly doing dishes.
We’re very different people, she and I. She sees everything in terms of action. Contemplation is for the purpose of eventual action. Creativity is in the service of action. Fears? Doubts? Anxieties? Their existence is to be dealt with while one continues to, as they say, do it anyways. The level of admiration and dare I say jealously I have of this quality she has is boundless. Because there are those of us who see it all as different pools that we either jump into or fall into while forgetting that we don’t actually know how to swim, or forget to swim because we’re so distracted by the texture of the bubbles, or start thinking about how weird swimming is anyways. Etc.
And I suppose that’s the lesson. And one that overly contemplative artist types should especially take to heart. You’ll have your fears. You’ll have your doubts. And your demons will make exceptionally good points with examples and diagrams and powerpoint slides. The point isn’t to get rid of them. The potentially dispiriting truth is that you probably can’t. Not completely. The point is to do it anyways. Instead of getting paralyzed, or believing you need to get rid of them in order to do the thing. Learn how to ‘do’ in a noisy, crowded room. Sit them down on the couch in your office, or studio, or corner covered by a thin hole-filled cloth you’ve had since college that has that weird stain on it, give them a glass of water, go ‘uh huh’ and ‘yeah sure’ at the right moments so they feel listened to, and do the thing anyways. Feel worthless? Ok. Feel like a failure? Fine. Feel that way, just do it anyways. Whatever ‘it’ is. And maybe eventually those particular demons will get the idea, and move away feeling disgruntled and resentful and ignored, and be replaced by other demons. (Insert wide smile emoji here).
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have chickpeas and kombucha to taste test.