15 August 2011

Letters to the Other

Evidence that some days,
I struggle to get me and my creative self on the same page.

* * * * *

Dear Jessica,

What the hell is it now?
A few hours ago we were just fine-
now I'm out here on my ass and quite frankly,
I don't get it.

This questioning yourself and your artistry
in a world of other artists has got to stop.

Where's the trust?
Where's the love, woman?
The self-love?
One minute you have it and suddenly it's gone,
both it and I lost.
Cast somewhere behind angry shadows of self-doubt.
Get a grip on yourself.
You *are* an effing artist.

Truth be told,
I'm getting a little sick of having to remind you of that fact.
And I'm getting a little sick of you being afraid of people.
You assume they are all better.
Lovelier than you.
With more to give and more to share.
You take blows that were never even meant to be blows!
You sensitive soul, you stupidly sensitive soul.
Taking things personally that were never given with any intention.
Finding false meaning in words,
finding false meaning in the absence of words,
or in the tone of something written.
Something unwritten.
Like you have to look for errors in yourself,
and for judgement in others.

You judge you more than any other.

You know I love you dearly, but you exhaust me.
I wish for you to feel consistency with your confidence.
I wish for you to feel peaceful.
Where's the self-righteous anger that used to burn off the doubt?
Where's the wide-mouthed, full-lunged rebel yell
we used to engage in?
Where'd you go?

You're being a child.
Grow up.


* * * * *

Dear Rosy,

Screw you.
It's easy for you to say, do you know that?
And what do you know about how I feel?
It's not that I've kicked you out on your ass at all.
It's more like I just lost sight of you.
It happens.
We all feel that way sometimes.
So lay off.

Yes, occasionally I get scared of people.
Not literally scared in a
"they're going to hurt me" kind of way,
but in a "they're going to say or show something that will
remind me of all my shortcomings" kind of way.
And I've always wanted to be perfect.
What's so wrong with that?

Sometimes I don't want to read others' words or
see their lives because it pulls forth
the recognition of some inadequacy in me.
Whether or not they know that,
whether or not they *see* it,
I know and see it,
and I don't like the feeling.
It makes me physically uncomfortable.
Maybe, but that's who I am.
Are you really thinking you can just change my personality at 28?

And furthermore,
if you're so tough and together,
why do you "let" me "kick you out" anyway?
Why don't you just stick around no matter what?
Why is it my fault?
To me, it feels like you just off and leave.
Then you want to give me grief for not being grown-up enough?
Get over yourself.


* * * * *

Ha! Really?
Inadequacy in you?
That's YOUR word; not mine and not theirs.
It's your own baggage, sister.
I suggest you drop it or at least quit swinging it around
and nailing yourself in the face with it.

It's not my job to build you up.
It's not anyone's job, to build you up.
It's your job.
It's yours.

When you have off days,
we both suffer.
There's stuff I want to get done.
Your doubting and dumbing down your ability
is really just holding us both back.
Personally, I don't appreciate it
and you shouldn't either.
I maintain that your biggest obstacle is you.
Ironically, just one more area
where you don't give yourself enough credit.

* * * * *


  1. Oh how I love you... both. :)

  2. your words speak volumes to me. I have all the same doubts and fears as you, and i am constantly embroiled in arguments in my head, I don't feel so alone now

  3. you are reading my mind, daily, hourly, by the minute................inadequacy, ptooey! it's always here, kinda like an old but really creepy friend, who will gleefully drag you down and then laugh at you. ad then for some insane reason, you'll let it talk you into feeling bad again...break the cycle, and live free, rosy!

  4. Yes, yes, yes, and heck yes. I could have written those words myself. Our inner critic will always be far harsher than any external.

    Why is it that we cannot see in ourselves, what others see in us?

    In you, I see an artist destined for great things...GREAT things. I know that you will leave an enduring legacy long after you have taken your last breath on this earth. A Great American Artist. A Pioneer of her Craft. Can't you see it?

    You are standing on the precipice...you are so close. Just take a deep breath and step out. Believe in yourself as much as we all do...and there will be no stopping you. Either of you ;-)


  5. Oh, Lord. We are indeed always our own worst critics. I suppose that is just part of being an artist of any kind. I understand this dialogue all too well.
    However, I just have to say that I have always envied your success. You make beautiful things. You list them. They sell. Automatically, or very close to it. That right there should be a testament to your craft. You are an amazing artist, Jess. Not even you can argue with that.

  6. So much clarity in those words, Jess. There's really absolutely nothing inadequate about any part of you. Love you.

  7. Thank you everyone. What a rollercoaster of a day! I am trying to venture back out to reading blogs, and while part of me absolutely loves it (and you guys) part of me is fiercely intimidated.

    I seem to be that girl who is either a recluse in the back of the classroom or shouting at the top of her lungs while standing on her desk. One day I'm going to find my happy middledom. :)

    Meanwhile, your words tonight (wow) have brought me back to the closest thing I know to balance. Thank you all for tolerance, patience, and perspective.

    . . . And laughter!

  8. I hope you don't ever find you happy middledom
    instead i hope you find peace betwee the "two of you" and accept and embrace...this is you!
    and what a lovely you it is
    the creative mind is a complicated thing
    so many threads
    and thats okay
    sensitivity is something to be embraced and nurtured....some thing I am still learning

    Come on out and play with us....we won't bite!
    Only if you bite first ; )

    love and light

  9. this almost makes me want to write down my inner monologues, though I think I'd be a bit scared to read them afterwards lol.

    Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog, I'm really glad that you like my photos :)

  10. Thank you, Cat. You're always so supportive.

    And Rhianne, your talent truly is stunning. It's an honor to see you on this side, commenting. Thank you!

  11. I find this post so perfectly, utterly timed. This past week I too have found myself wading deeply in the waters of self-doubt. I wonder if I'm being the person I have the potential to be - the one that I imagine and proclaim to be to everyone else. I wonder if I'm secretly just a fake; if I'm doing enough; if I AM enough.

    It's a constant battle I think, to keep ourselves afloat, our SOULS afloat and not banged up against the comparisons of other's lives or accomplishments. To recognize our own beauty and revel in that rather than reside in the darkness of insecurity. Know that you are not alone, that all of us from different walks of life, professions, ages, wade down into these pools of doubt. But it is our friends and family and most importantly - OURSELVES - that can help buoy us back to the top where the sun is shining so brightly.

    Love you JJ,


  12. I LOVE this! I love that you're not afraid to put it out there!

    Everyone goes through periods of self-doubt. When we ride the storm, it eventually evens out. Having faith in balance when you don't have faith in yourself at the moment can get you through it. But I'm sure you know that already. :)

    You are a wonderful artist! Your work is beautiful and thought-provoking and comes from the heart.

    There's no doubt on this end!


  13. Cathy-
    I love you too. More than you know.
    Thank you for your words.

    Michelle- Ah, thank you. I'm glad it's relatable- it does me some good to know (to be reminded) that we are all in the same places from time-to-time, and that these places are normal.

    Feeling much better today. It's amazing what a good stream of writing, some amazing friends, and a good night's sleep will do.

    Thankful for you all, and am typing with a smile on my face.

  14. Welcome to the Club, sister. Welcome. Been there, done that. Gonna do it again. It's part of caring about your art.

    It sucks... but there it is.

    (But it's IMMENSLY comforting knowing that even big stars like you Jess feel it. I feel sad for you, but secretely I'm sighing with relief.) Mwah!