“The Careers Officer”…. Do you have a similar story…?!
Today, I’ve decided to share a bit of my history, and a story around some of the fears I’ve had over the years with my art.I don’t usually share this stuff, but I’m hoping my story might resonate. I think it affects more of us than we realise, so see if my story strikes a chord with you…
A few questions to ponder…Do you intend to start art projects and room redesigns, but seem to procrastinate getting started? (I know I have.)
Do you get an overwhelming desire to do ANYTHING other than the creativity you were intending to start on? (Yep, even down to deep cleaning the bathroom floor at times! Why?!!)
Do you go into an art, DIY or stationery store, and drool over the look, touch and feel of EVERYTHING in there, and contentedly spend hours with your mind in overdrive at all the projects you could start? (Yep!)
Do you then go home, and find that you often don’t actually START those projects…? (Face palm!)
Suddenly taken over by this irrational procrastination that you can’t quite put your finger on…? (Oh Yes…. Been there and got the tee-shirt….!)
Well… I’ve been thinking about where this ridiculous behaviour and fear comes from, and I think I’ve identified where some of it began, for me…
I’ll take you back to when I was a teenager, and give you an inside peek into my life.
You might be wondering ‘what does this have to do with me?‘, but hear me out, if any of the above resonated with you, you might see a similarity in my story.
Picture it: The ripe old age of thirteen, it’s time to take options for O Levels at school… (that’ll give you a clue to my age… the following year they became GCSE’s!)
Those words “What do you want to do…?” Innocent enough… But to have to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life at that age made me want to shudder. It all felt so grown up, and something I just wasn’t ready for.
We took our best guess at options… English, Maths, Geography, Biology and Home Economics… The two-year examination preparation began.
Despite wanting to take Art as an O Level option, it was an either / or with Home Economics. It was decided that Home Ec would be a more practical life skill… and art of course, was really just a hobby….
I quite liked cooking though, it gave me a great outlet for my creativity, and I have many happy memories of Friday afternoons spent concocting the latest meal plan, and lovingly designing project folders with hand drawn pictures of herbs and spices…!
Anyhow, I digress….
Two years on, after we got our mock exam results back, and were getting closer to the final exams, we were scheduled in to see the ‘Careers Officer…’
I had never met this man before, and I’ve never seen him since. He was solemn, and clearly very bored with the long string of pubescent teens he had to endure that day! He knew absolutely nothing about me, yet in our ten minute slot, he was to inform me of my potential career options…
I recall a selection of Index Card Boxes with my chosen subject choices… (No internet in those days!!) 1) Geography 2) Biology and on it went. He listed potential jobs contained within each category…
Nurse…? Secretary…? Vet….? Nope, Nope… Nope… We duly went through all options…. Each suggestion filled me with dread and nothing inspired me as a potential career choice.
“Good grief, surely there’s SOMETHING in ONE of these boxes that appeals to you…?!!!! What DO you like doing….?” he demanded.
I was feeling quite inadequate at not having nailed my career choice down within the ten minutes we had been allocated, but managed to reply sheepishly “I like drawing,” eyeing the box labelled ‘ART’.
“Pft…! Well… You’ve left it a bit late for THAT now, haven’t you…?!” he retorted…
That was it… I’d missed the boat… I was fifteen years old, and I’d left it too late…
“You can’t do art”…. There for me, the fear was born.
It develops into the blank canvas syndrome, afraid to make that first mark, or redesign that room, fear that it won’t be good enough, it won’t match what you have in your head, and you procrastinate getting started… at all.
I’ve concluded that this fear came from this quiet, underlying notion that… I can’t…. I shouldn’t… It’s that closed box, that must not be opened… I mustn’t get started, even if I do really really want to….
Fast forward a few years… and as you know… I have found my way back to my art…
But, I know that much of my delay was from being ‘told’ as that young girl, that I couldn’t do it…
Having taken some time to think about my fear of getting started, it dawned on me. I am not that teenage girl any more. As an adult, I CAN do art…! In fact, I can do whatever I bloomin’ well like…!
How many of us are not pursuing our passions based on other peoples passing comments? Certainly during my in person workshops, this subject came up on countless occasions, of ‘somebody’ telling them they couldn’t do it… for a host of reasons, and often decades earlier!
School tells us, society tells us, everybody tells us that art is something you can only do once you’ve done all of your ‘proper’ jobs. There’s no value in it. What’s the point. Well, I’m saying that creativity IS important! For me, it’s the key to feeling more balanced, it’s just pure joy!
Two things I love to do is to help people, and inspire people to tap into their creative side. People often say that my enthusiasm gets them enthused…. I don’t know about that, I just know I love it when I’m sharing this wax with others, and get my greatest joy watching others implement what they’ve just learnt.
If you’re not up for painting with wax, just get a biro out and doodle on an old envelope, bake a cake, draw pictures of herbs and spices, whatever scratches that creative itch – I’m sure you’ll feel better for it!
Lets take the fear out of creating… being afraid of making that first mark…
It doesn’t matter what you create, what matters is that you are creating.As you know, encaustic is my thing…But, for you, whether its creating a beautiful space to relax in, with colours, tones and sensations of the fabrics, furniture and art radiating out into the room, or you’re painting with wax yourself… it’s all so therapeutic, it brings a calm, a gentleness, and balance to a space. It feels like a coming home…
Sometimes we just need that extra bit of inspiration and encouragement. Find the group, the course, or the inspiration to spark you.
If my story has resonated with you, I’d love to hear from you. Do you have a similar story? A fear around getting started? Do you procrastinate? Start off raring to go, then go into freeze mode?! Did you have a teacher, or a careers officer who “told” you what you shouldn’t do?! You’re not alone, so lets support and encourage each other, and say ‘Yes, we CAN’ – It is allowed… We will all feel so much better for it!
If you’re looking for inspiration to get started with encaustic, choose from my courses here: https://artyheaven.com/online-courses
Prefer 1-1 sessions? https://artyheaven.com/work-1-1-with-me
Or follow me over on Instagram, where you’ll find a smorgasbord of photos, videos and reels to inspire!