I’m often too concerned about my art.
Too concerned. I’m always too concerned about my art. This means my writing, my design, my thoughts, my—what keeps me going, creating, shifting, observing, cleaning, remaking. I’m too concerned about scraping for unique perspectives and mic-drop moments.
I’m fascinated by the ideals of not regarding things as so precious. And this isn’t because I don’t care (HAHA) or because I don’t want to care (NOPE). It’s because a few snippets of ideas have been informative to my perspective in ways that have once been useful and at this point perhaps should expire. And the reason these things should probably die, is because they have put an emotional emphasis in my way of doing things and the things around me, more than my care of myself and ultimately my willingness to grow, and be uncomfortable.
“We work quick and dirty,” said my adviser George, who counts me too dear said in a meeting, addressing my crippling perfectionism. “We work quick and dirty, and then we edit.”
I’ve been told my points or my explanations can be too abstract. And this isn’t to say they are smart, or by virtue of being so useful. In fact, sometimes the opposite. At the same time, I’ve been encouraged in the way I personally analyze, inspect and express.
There’s a birthday card I keep from my roommate and a memory of my one counseling session that I hold close to me, to remind me that the cliffs I find myself on are worth describing. But, as follow-through was always the mountain that loomed over me in tennis (What does co-captain in high school mean anyway? I love the title, but I know this question is extremely fitting.), follow-through continues to haunt me, in my fragile pride and ensuing perfectionist tendencies to stop. And just, stop.
But I’ve found some of my best inspiration and unearthed that most genuine feeling of expression while floundering.
Gowns drawn while feeling lonely, foolish and unwanted in early high school. Portraits drawn while deciding to ask questions about life and God that I needed to in late high school. A crappy speech that was simple, perhaps too short, but had me in front of ALL of my middle to high school peers and put me in a personalized ASB polo to represent them and forced me to ask what leadership and accountability are for myself.
I’ve been wearing that ASB sweatshirt from my senior year of high school now in my senior year of college somewhat ironically, but also sentimentally. We eventually get through everything, no matter how forever it feels in the moment; and I’ve walked through this semester like my failures this year have been damning. It’s easy to forget the depth of the pit in your stomach from when you second told someone you loved them, or the fear of never measuring up for heroes and laughing darkly weeks about how incredible it is you can feel such a range of emotions on any given day.
Things get hard and I think, “Didn’t I do this before? Or at least, didn’t I go through worse last year? Why is this difficult?” And in wishing it wasn’t, I’ve shrunk back in honesty, squashed creative growth and withdrawn trust in the God who has promised:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
If He is willing, and has already laid his life down for me, can’t I afford to be a little messy, and trust?
Everything feels so formative right now in the heat of this final semester. Tasks I’ve fallen short on and have continued to mess up on have felt indicting to my character rather than, well, experiments to fiddle with and complete (a.k.a. what they are).
It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
Harry S. Truman
“If I cared about this thing, I wouldn’t do that. If I want to respect my amazing professors, I would do this.” This line of thinking I’ve had is compulsive and gross, and the only way out is to stop seeing the incredible opportunities in front of me as such burdens, and instead see them as ordained gifts.
I know I’m learning a lot. But don’t we all wish at the moment of any enlightenment, “Well okay, yes, I get it now. I see how I’ve been wrong now. Are we done yet?”
“Do something that you’re REALLY bad at. And love it,” said my professor Katrina the very first day of class. Counting up my last GE and major requirements, the default question in my mind was: “Does this class count?”
Hmm. It seems a lot more worthwhile to put less into my counting, and more into my curiosity. Calculate less, create more.