I wish I could say that the world is trying to box me in and I'm resisting but that would be a half truth. The world may be doing its part but I'm quite adept at boxing myself in without any help. I've been chasing integration for a while now- trying to find a way to do all the things that I want to do and still keep my work (and myself) cohesive and strong. It's much harder than I imagined.
How can I be a commercial photographer running a studio and making forays into the fine art world while writing a book and being an educator who also sews quilts, has an Etsy shop and teaches photographers about business? Truth be told, it's tough. My husband would say, "no, it's not, you're doing it right now...just do it more". Of course, that's just way too simple and it doesn't really work like that anyway. What happens is that one aspect starts to compete with the other or my ego gets in the way and gets worried about what someone else may think of what I'm doing. I second guess how to prioritize all the pieces and just end up feeling like a mess. I start to feel like I'm doing a lot of things halfway and that none of it is that strong. Basically, I let doubt and fear creep in and kill it.
The thing is, I know the truth. The truth is that it doesn't matter what the haters or critics have to say about me because they aren't my audience. I know that the struggle for balance is part of the process. I also know that my best and most productive self does not live in one tidy box. My best self is free, complex, integrated, bold and multi-faceted. There will be those who will thrill and delight in the mix of things that I am doing and love it all (even more) for the variety. However, knowing the truth and living it are very different prospects.
Lately, it's a matter of fits and starts, good days and bad days. It's not a light switch that can just be flipped. Oh, how I wish that it was like that! It's a mental battle between what I know and what I am feeling. I'm a box myself in addict. Do they have a recovery group for people like me? I think it is a learned behavior that I need to unlearn. Stop allowing the question "what would X or Y person or group think about this piece or this project?". Ask only what do I love about what I'm doing and chase it down without so many questions. Day-by-day, by day, by day, by another day...one day at a time perhaps.
(the image in this post was created while away at a workshop in Dallas with the lovely and talented Brooke Shaden. It has inspired so many new ideas and I'm working really hard to chase them down- without too many questions. Hope you like it! Wait, no, I'm not going to worry about whether or not you like it, not today anyway.)