Embarrassment, Failure, Growth

Recently, I submitted some of my artwork to the Strathcona County Art Gallery@501. I hoped people would like my work. I hoped the county would buy my art to display. I hoped for a lot of things, but beneath, and on top of, that hope something else whispered to me.

Something whispered that I wasn’t good enough. Something whispered that people would laugh at my work.

I felt embarrassed by my submissions. I told myself the gallery accepted all submissions. I didn’t even need to be good and they’d still display my work. People would see my work. They’d see it for what it really was.

I saw derision.

In my head I picture people telling my they like my work just to be nice. In my head I see other people thinking my work is childish. They’re only saying nice things about my work to be – well – nice.

In my head I hear a lot of things.  In my head I hear all the reasons I should keep my art hidden at home. In my head I hear all the reasons I shouldn’t talk to real artists. In my head I am not good enough. In my head I do not deserve to have my art on display. In my head my art is not valuable to others. In my head I doubt myself. A lot.

I submitted my work anyway.

Even though I never received a phone call saying my art was selected, I attended the unveiling reception at the gallery. I talked to other artists. I praised other artist’s work. It was so hard to go. I felt rather sick while I drove to the gallery. I wanted to leave before they made the announcements. I wanted to leave as soon as the announcements were done and I knew my work wasn’t selected.

I stayed anyway. I was uncomfortable. But I stayed. I chatted. I looked at a lot of art. Particularly the art that was purchased. I wanted to see what the selection committee saw. I wanted to learn. I wanted to open my eyes a little wider.

I was sad my work wasn’t selected for purchase. I was sad my work didn’t win the people’s choice award. But in my sadness I was also happy I tried. In my sadness I see hope. I see growth. I see a chance to learn more and do better next year.

I don’t know if I’ll feel anymore worthy next year, but sometimes it isn’t about feeling worthy, it’s about proving worth just by showing up.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Fox says:

    You’ve gotten perhaps the biggest take away you could have gotten, that you tried and got as far as you did. There will be other years to take it further, but for now you showed up. That’s huge. I can honestly say even if I was talented when it came to art I wouldn’t likely make it that far. Good for you!

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! For me it was a little easier to put myself out there because I’ve had a lot of positive feedback already. I’m not sure I could have submitted had I not already had several people complimenting my work.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. xKickz says:

    Hey! It took allot of courage to fight the doubt you were experiencing! I’m glad you were able to find the strength to do so. Next time will hopefully be easier and I do hope you “Give it another go!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m hoping it gets easier each time. If not, at least I know what to expect and know I had the strength to do it once, and so can do it again.

      Liked by 1 person

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