A Decade in Retrograde
Here I am. Smiling. Hopeful. In Aruba for goodness sake! You'd never know there was an inner war going on in that head of mine.
In my last post, I briefly discussed some art goals for 2020. They’re pretty modest, and I think it’s because I’m legitimately doubtful I could handle anything all that challenging. Yes, fear of failure has crept back into my life and dug it’s claws into my psyche.
What does failure look like to me? It looks like being a joke. I don’t want to be the "wannabe" artist that I fear I am. People, especially in the Midwest, do not want to tell you how much you suck. We’re obsessed with being accommodating and kind. So, there is a significant part of me that wonders if any compliment I get on my work is just a fellow Hoosier being polite, when what they really want to say is, “Wow, I can’t believe you wasted all of that student loan money on something you really have no talent in.”
Failure for me looks like being easily winded and unable to live the active lifestyle I want to live. It means I have to spend hundreds of dollars buying another, larger wardrobe. And while I believe beauty is what lies in our hearts not in our jeans, I really don’t have the money to throw at Old Navy. And truly, in my specific case, I’ve let myself become lazy and ignore my physical health. It’s a very personal thing, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
And while I sit here snuggled in my new flannel sheets, dissatisfied with my 2019 decisions, I revisit an alternative version of me that exists in my imagination. This Angela, has a studio in a building with other local artists (not in her home) She gets to collaborate and forge real friendships with these people. Alternative Angela wears more black, has redder lipstick, and is always on top of bleaching or waxing her upper lip hair. She spends much more time creating and much less time eating mindlessly in front of her television. This version of Angela sells more work, shows and more prestigious exhibitions, and is self-assured that she has the mutual respect of her peers.
She exercises regularly and eats food that fuels her body and makes her feel good inside and out. She’s working to start her own business, a local art supply/framing shop. It will succeed; she’s not afraid that she doesn’t have enough money, or that a traditional brick and mortar store wouldn’t work in this economy. She’s well prepared. She’s going to make it work, and work well.
I sigh and glance up at the ceiling. How much of this fantasy is a possibility and how much is truly unrealistic? How much am I holding myself back from doing what needs to be done for me to live up to my potential?
Can I tell you the truth, the disappointing truth of it all?
I am my own greatest obstacle. While I’ve worked very hard to learn love myself, I don’t like myself very much at this moment.
Everyday I wake up and tell myself that I am going to do better than the day before. I am going to choose foods that well help me be able to lose some weight (yeah, controversial, I know), so that I can run, box, and garden to best of my ability. So that I put less of a strain on my feet, which after a summer of taking long walks in cheap flats (glorified pieces of cardboard surrounded by fabric) and gaining weight have created the perfect condition for me to develop plantar fasciitis. And yes, admitting this makes me feel so old. I feel more ancient admitting my feet hurt in the mornings than I did when I turned 30.
In addition to neglecting my physical health, I’ve completely pushed my artistic soul off to the back burner in my life, and it makes me sick (not like, ebola sick, more like the common cold sick, but still, unpleasant!). How will I ever progress as a creative, if I never make time for it anymore? Why have I let this stop being a priority? Time and time again I’ve complained to you on here about how I’ve lacked the discipline to get myself into my studio regularly.
The unfortunate matter at hand, is that not only have I neglected my art, but now I’m realizing that I’ve stopped challenging myself in more than my creativity. I’m not challenging myself physically. I’m not pushing myself professionally. The only thing I can think to do is to intervene in my habits before I steer this train straight off of a cliff.
Here’s what 2020 is going to mean for me. 2020 is a year for me to develop discipline once again. I’m going to commit to my art, my fitness, and my work in addition to my relationships. I am going to challenge myself to fight laziness tooth and nail, as long and as hard as it takes. I am better than this. I can do more than just settle into a life of coasting by, when I know I have it in me to excel. I want this year, this decade, to be the beginning of a renewed sense of self. I am going to do my best to live this life I’ve been given with the volume on max.
I'll end this entry with a photo of me from Summer 2010. Excited and also a little scared for what the future would hold. A time when of a lot healing and pain, but also a time of investing in myself. I'm hoping to grasp that energy, and channel it again into 2020.
Hold me to it, beautiful people.
1/3/2020 09:39:49 am
You are such an inspiration. Your an amazing artist! And I’m not just saying that... I’m west coast and I only see it from afar and I love it! It’s so real and so raw....
1/3/2020 09:42:23 am
Thank you Bobbie! :) Great to have a cousin like you. I miss you guys.
1/3/2020 04:23:14 pm
Oh, Ang. I know this is easier said than done, but you have EVERYTHING you need to reach every single one of these goals. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. You are an incredible artist. I know all of these goals are scary and I know this sounds cliche but magic truly happens outside of your comfort zone. Who cares TRULY what others think, if something is controversial, taboo, cliche-- your goals are YOURS and they are important. You deserve to feel exactly the way you want.
1/9/2020 06:40:18 am
Thank you so much Rachel! :) You are such an encouragement to me.
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Angela DeCamp is an Indianapolis based artist. who enjoys the finer things in life: black coffee, carnival tickets, the sound high heels make when they clickty-clack on the sidewalk.