Monday, October 4, 2010

Week 2 Challenge: Finish something you've started

This past week, I finished a painting I started back in July.

It took me until Thursday to do it. 

As each day went by and the week progressed, I had this nagging feeling mixed with anxiety to finish the painting that I didn’t want to finish.  But thankfully this blog was holding me accountable to finish the dang painting, because several times I wanted to cop out (kind of like last week, hmm I wonder what that says about my character).  So finally I forced myself to sit in my room, put some Kid Cudi on and whip out the paints and brushes. 

I sat there, on my floor staring down at my unfinished work and remembered all the reasons why I hadn’t completed the painting in the first place.  I thought, this doesn’t look as good as I want it to be, the lines aren’t clean, the huge tree in the middle is awkward, etc.  But quickly I stopped myself, took a deep breath and started mixing colors and put the brush on the canvas. 

And the whole process, with all my doubts, anxiety, paint mixing and even downloading a few songs as I painted… finishing the piece of art took me about an hour and a half.  An hour and a half.

 So, if you want to do the math on that one, I spent 3 months putting off a task that took me 90 minutes to complete. 

That speaks volumes to a very simple fact: that the fear of doing something is always worse than actually doing it.

So this got me thinking and I remembered a passage from my most favorite book, Cold Tangerines: Shauna writes:  “It matters, art does, so deeply.  It’s one of the noblest things, because it comes from such a deep place inside us.  There’s nothing scarier than that moment when you sing the song for the first time, for your roommate or your wife or when you let someone see the painting, and there are a few very long silent moments when they haven’t yet said what they think of it, and in those few moments, time stops and you quit painting, you quit singing forever, in your head, because it’s so fearful and vulnerable, and then someone says, essentially, thank you and keep going, and you breath releases, and you take back everything you said in your head about never painting again...

So, to all the secret writers, late-night painters, would-be singers, lapsed and scared artists of every stripe, dig out your paintbrush, or your flute, or your dancing shoes. Pull out your camera or your computer or your pottery wheel. Today, tonight, after the kids are in bed or when your homework is done, or instead of one more video game or magazine, create something, anything.

Pick up a needle and thread, and stitch together something particular and honest and beautiful, because we need it. I need it.

Thank you, and keep going."

So what is it that you’ve been putting off? 
What fear of yours is limiting you, right at this very moment? 
What have you started and neglected to finish?
Is it a project, a piece of art work, a conversation with a family member or broken relationship? 
Is it that phone call or email or letter you’ve been meaning to get around to? 

Take initiative today, I promise only good can come from it.

1 comment:

  1. You just spoke about my life.
    This is my most recurrent feeling/situation in my life, and also my favorite shauna quote/chapter EVER.
    I did I mention I love you?