I just felt it was time to jump back on here and give you (and myself) a bit of an update on what’s been going on. October has felt like a particularly off putting month for me this year. I feel like I should be in the gang of spooky season lovers but I often find I end up feeling a little emotionally checked out at this time of year. I got wiped out by some kinda virus for a couple of weeks at the beginning of the month and had some major personal commitments towards the end, and today is Halloween and I’m sat here wondering where all my time went.
To be real, I guess needing to write this out for myself more than anything, I have really hit a difficult point in my life where I’m struggling to find enough work to make ends meet. I feel like I have had a seemingly never ending battle with trying to humbly accept rejection emails (or to be honestly more often than not, radio silence) from employers, regardless whether it was a minimum wage 0 hours contract or an application that I worked really hard at and genuinely allowed myself to believe I was suitable for.
“There’ll be something else!”
“Just need to stay positive!”
“This must just not have been the right thing for me!”
“If you keep trying, something will come up!”
“Maybe I’d have hated that anyway”
…..“Wait…Am I just not good enough?”
This is something I find incredibly difficult to admit or say out loud because of the impact it’s having on my self esteem and some of the self loathing that is coming with that. I have never in my life had the confidence to ask for opportunities, always believing someone else probably deserved it more, or I needed to do more, be more before I was deserving enough.
To me, creating has always been my life and I genuinely see it as something I struggle to live without, so I’ve always tried to make space for it, especially as it is a massive aid to my mental health. I have dreamed of having a creative career since the moment I realised you had to work once you grew up *crying noises*, but as I got older and tried to navigate being an adult I found that the reality of that was far more out of reach than the optimistic and hopeful kid in me had led me to believe.
Most of the work I’ve taken in pursuit of this have been short term, temporary opportunities that I always positively hoped would be a great experience and get me a step closer to where I wanted to be, but now it feels a little like I’m lost in the forest, with no way back, alone, afraid and cursing myself for not having the foresight to throw down a trail of crumbs.
I had a really uncomfortable experience in a job interview recently where, despite spending days preparing, I just completely froze the minute I saw the three expectant pairs of eyes staring at me across the table. My mind was completely empty, as if I’d never had a single thought in my life. I tried to open my mouth but nothing but a garbled apology spilled out, over and over again for what felt like a lifetime. I felt the panic rise within me and I heard my heart break for myself, as if I knew in that instant, that no matter how well I recovered, this job was going to someone who appeared more confident and reliable. Credit to myself, I believe I did actually recover well, eventually. The people were incredibly kind, and understanding and made me feel totally at ease which I was incredibly grateful for but I felt the “probably can’t cope under pressure” damage was done. This isn’t exactly true as I generally deal well under the pressure as long as the pressure is me having to step up to help solve something for someone else, rather than a “tell us why you are the best or else you’re a failure” kind of pressure. Uncomfortable.
Unsurprisingly, the rejection email came a few days later saying that they thought I'd be a great fit for the team but there was another candidate with more management experience. This was completely expected and I dusted myself off and tried to feel proud of myself anyway. The next part doesn’t feel great to write because it seems like a criticism and I don’t ever feel good about openly being critical of anyone, but in the rejection email was a line praising the creative ideas I brought to the interview and (I know in my heart of hearts, very well intended) offer to get in touch if I wanted to volunteer creatively. This was a little tough for me to take, because I have worked really hard and already made a lot of sacrifices in my life, working for free or pennies to develop myself into the creative person I am. I am generally pretty resilient to my own intense emotional responses these days and I can let them wash over me, but for some reason this made me feel something unusual and unexpected. It wasn’t a quick sharp pain, it wasn’t anger, it was hurt. It makes it difficult not to wonder if I'll ever find anywhere where my skills will be valued enough that I will be able to support myself financially with them, or do I really need to start back at square one after all this effort.
The reason I’m writing this post is because I desperately want to start being braver and putting myself forward for all the opportunities I've always felt maybe not quite good enough for. I’ve spent the past few days going over and over in my head what I would say and how I would convey my enthusiasm, drive and ambition but I find it often quickly grows so big and powerful in my mind that I feel completely frozen by the fear that I will pour my heart and soul into something and still fall short and never quite know why. Talking about my strengths is not one of my strengths and my past few experiences have left me doubting myself quite severely, so I just wanted to use this blog post to wriggle out my insecurities, leave them here, move forward and just give myself the little bit of extra confidence I need to put myself forward for things I really want in my life.
Just as importantly, I want to thank everyone I have met through my artwork who has taken the time to support me, encourage me and engage with me as both an artist and a person. I honestly can’t express how grateful I am to you, for giving me the strength to start believing in my work, my ideas and myself as a creative person. I will never give up on creating. I can’t say it enough but thank you all for your continued support and patience while I clumsily try to navigate my life :)
As always, please feel free to leave a comment or send me a message on Instagram if you have anything to say in response to this!