When I began this blog I wanted to provide an honest portrayal of the adventures of a new entrepreneur, specifically in the arts. People are often unaware that their struggles are shared by others, and try to suffer in silence so as not to bother other people with their problems. I wanted to share my struggles, to be open to the world about what it is like as a starving artist because I know how much it helps me when I hear others' honesty about taboo subjects.
However, I have been finding myself trying to edit my words, to censor myself worried that if I am too much of a downer, no one will want to read this. I don’t want other people to think that things aren’t going well, so I am encouraged (by myself) to put a positive spin on everything. This blog post is an attempt to control that urge, to speak hard truths and avoid making things look all rosy.
The truth is, the abuse of my previous bosses has taken a toll. I know positive attitudes and language is important to maintaining a positive outlook, yet I am truly as bad as my last boss. I am excited for my business, but I tell myself everyday that I am not good enough. I have internalized the opinions of others who have reminded me for 2 years now that I can’t do it. A small mistake can throw me into a fit of anger and depression, thinking that they were right all along and that somehow that means I don’t deserve success. I find I no longer think I am qualified for the positions I was applying for before I came here. In fact, I don't feel qualified to do anything. I don't offer myself the understanding, patience and kindness that I asked for, that I left for, and now I don't even have the paycheck.
Now that I am on my own, I am left to deal with the emotional fallout. It's like I have emerged from the stasis I had put myself in emotionally to protect myself. So as I emerge and reanimate, I am struggling to put my life back together and find my confidence again. I take one day at a time (sometimes not gracefully) and try to give myself breathing room. I am not working full time hours at this point; I try to, but I've also been keenly aware of when I begin to shut down and when things get harder because of my frustration and anger with myself.
Of course this is not the best state of mind to be marketing myself and my business, but it is the situation I am currently in. After every outburst, I try to remind myself what I would expect from someone else. How I would treat someone else if they were in my shoes. The answer is always vastly different than how I reacted. It is going to be a slow process of rebuilding who I am, which is just one struggle I am facing as a self-employed artist.
I have a small but VERY supportive group of people around me, both family, friends and others. They tell me all the time how great I am and how great my business is. I choose to believe them, because I can't imagine them telling a lie. I am so very grateful for this support, because bit by bit they are helping me break down the wall that has formed. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for verbalizing your support, it has made all of the difference as I try to silence the voice in my head that is an echo of the last few years.