My Own Worst Enemy
Or "How my anxiety stops me from making art"
I remember, in high school, we were tasked with an assignment to write on the importance of electric cooperatives for a writing contest. The contest was, unsurprisingly, hosted by our local electric cooperatives (or electric company for those who don't know what that is) and the winner would get an all expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., our nation's capital.
Being the depressed high schooler I was at the time, I procrastinated until the very last day and wrote something in about 10 minutes. It ended up being a fictional narrative that incorporated facts about the subject we were required to write about. If you were going to make me write about something I didn't want to, I was going to do it my way, in my own style, and make it a little bit fun for me to do. At least I submitted something and that wouldn't affect my English grade negatively. After submitting the story I had created online, I deleted the other copy from the computer and my flash drive, determined to put this whole mess behind me and get back to focusing on important things, like my math homework I hadn't finished that was due the next class period (math is still my worst subject to this day, numbers and I do not get along).
About a week later, my English teacher got a call from the office. They had gotten the results and knew the winner. You can probably guess where I'm going with this.
It was me. Surprise, surprise. I had won. The trip was lovely. Of course it was me.
My teacher congratulated me and wanted to get a copy of what I had written to read for himself. My cheeks turned bright red and I told him I had deleted my copy of the work because I was certain I wouldn't have won. I was certain that what I had written wouldn't have mattered.
When we create something, we are often our own worst enemy. I still am to this day. Every time I write something. I read, and re-read, and it takes me ages to get the courage to post it for the public to see it. Anxiety can be a real bitch sometimes, am I right?
I am still trying to teach myself that the things I write are good because I put effort into them, I pour my heart into them. I have a story to tell that could help people, and that is what makes what I create beautiful, despite what my anxiety or my depression tells me.
If I can help one person with what I write or what I do, then that is what matters. If I can make someone think and change a behavior or a choice, then what I have made has done good in the world. I have got to learn that just because an article I write is only read by 10 people instead of 1,000, doesn't make it bad. Those 10 people needed to hear what I had to say, that is important!
If you know someone who creates art (written or otherwise), continue to encourage and remind them that what they are making is good and it is important. Art is just another way humans tell our stories, and every human has one and it is imperative that others hear it.
If you make something, show it off, be proud of it. Allow yourself the grace to revel in that accomplishment. You've done well, what you have made is good, this could change lives. Just have the courage to follow through and display it.