Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Don't Be Afraid

It has been brought to my attention again how many people live in fear, so I will revisit the idea of the necessity of fearlessness here.

Artists must learn to be fearless. We cannot let things like rejection, self-exploration, being in the public eye, and opening ourselves up to criticism loom over us. We cannot be controlled by our fears of not being liked or not being accepted. To be professional and to be able and willing to engage in the public arena, we cannot be governed by that - it is just too much baggage.

Art aside, it is of no benefit to live one's life in fear. What are we so afraid of? It bothers me that there is so much fearmongering out there. Don't drink the water! Don't talk to strangers! Don't trust the government! Don't trust your neighbors!... The list goes on and on.

And so much of this is directed at women. I cannot even begin to express my frustrations at receiving many emails from concerned friends and other women warning me about some serial rapist killer practice that they read about online (all but one of which I've found to be false when researching it through Urban Legends). I recognize that there is no real reason for me to get worked up about it, but I think the fearmongering directed at women especially bothers me because it feeds into outdated idealogies that women need to be sheltered & protected or are somehow to blame for evils that befall them by not being cautious & shielded enough. I personally cannot abide by fostering that and try not to perpetuate that cycle.

Am I afraid? Of course I am. Fear is a gut reaction, an instinct that all of us have; we must learn not to be controlled by it. Regarding fearlessness in art, I've noted before how my high school art teacher likened showing one's art to hanging oneself naked on the wall, and I feel that is an appropriate comparison. By nature, showing art is very vulnerable.

But overcoming that fear is necessary to truly thrive as an artist, and it has always been my greatest hope to do so, both for myself and in order to to help others who are more cautious. I feel that I am finally getting there, since my bravery of self-expression is becoming one of the most remarked upon things about my art and about me as an artist. I want to show myself to be brave and fearless as an example for others to come out of their shells and to explore themselves and their art in new ways.

"Only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

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