Bushwhacking for Hipsters Side Trip: Being Perfect

It's ten a.m. on a cold, grey morning, and I've gotta tell y'all: the weather mirrors my mood today. We were all up way too late last night watching movies and playing with art stuff (we've got my roommate's 9-year-old this weekend), so this morning, I was a little...uh....out of sorts.

I was slogging through doing the dishes from dinner (I do all the prep work before I get started in the mornings, so I don't have to knock off early from making artstuff to do all of that,) and things were just Not Going Well inside the ol' brain cavity. I was ticked off that my roommate left dishes in my sink again (despite begging, explaining, gentle reminders, a good example, and downright ultimatums). I was tired and upset that I hadn't finished up with a project that I'm supposed to be working on. And after I sat down in the computer chair to look at what DID get done yesterday, I was -livid- to find that most of what I managed to put together yesterday was "worthess".

I mean that, too. The nine-year-old can do better work. An epileptic monkey could draw straighter lines and a dog, despite the whole colorblind thing, could probably have put together a better scheme with more contrast. What was UP with that FONT!? Argh!

To say that I was "a little out of sorts" could probably be the biggest understatement of the year thusfar.

So I did what great artists since the beginning of time have done. I took a nice long break.

Over a glass of orange juice and my journal, I started spitting out what as wrong with my head. "I can't do anything right; I keep making stuff that looks like dog doo; Why isn't this done yet!?" The words spilled out straight from my Inner Critic's mouth, it seemed. I just let it come. And then I sat very still until I regained posession of my faculties from that darn critic.

Re-reading it after it was all out of my head, I noticed a trend: Somehow, rather than looking at how much I did or the circumstances of yesterday (including stomach flu, thankyouverymuch), I'm expecting myself to be the Perfect SuperArtGirl, red cape and blue tights and all.

"I can't do anything right."
"Right" being the operative word here. What's -right-? Am I looking to get this piece out of my head or am I looking for some kind of mythical Perfection Bar that no matter how far I go, I'll never reach? I hear artgirls & artboys all the time saying that something just isn't good enough yet. But what IS good enough? How are you measuring what's good "enough"?

"I keep making stuff that looks like doo."
Okay. And I'd wager that there's not another creative person out there who DOESN'T make stuff that looks like doo now and again. It's called PRACTICE. An art PRACTICE isn't about having a perfect result -- it's about DOING IT. And the fact that I used the words "I keep making..." at the front of that sentence is something to be proud of. I'm still DOING IT. Do you let your bad days defeat you, or do you keep going, even when you produce an ATC-sized dog doo collage? (And you do know that if you do enough of them, they won't ALL be dog doo anymore, right? I know you know, this is just a reminder.)

I can't say that the foggy mood has lifted a hundred percent. I've still got a lot to do and not a whole lot of determination today. But the realization that it's more important to get out there and keep MAKING THINGS is more important than making PERFECT THINGS is a pretty big one. It lifts a little bit of the pressure, and lets me open up a bit. There's nothing wrong with striving for excellence in our chosen lives. It's only when we think we have to be Perfect that the stupid Inner Critic gets a good strong foothold.

Today, my friends, drop the PERFECT ART yoke. Strive for excellence if you want, but make sure you're also satisfied and heartened by being your own, Perfectly Excellent Artist Self. Revel in inperfection and remind yourself that no matter what you do, it's the right thing for you at the right time.

(Oddly enough, that has the acronym PEAS, which I could really RUN WITH here, but I won't, for your sakes. Today, at least. Now THAT cheered me up. :>)

Cheerily telling her Inner Critic to go get bent,
----eliza the PEA
(man, could I go for some Princess and the PEAS reference, here, but I'm restraining myself mightily. This deserves a cookie.)

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Hey cheer you up…Nobody is perfect, this is the way WE the human beings are. WE are not robots to do everything perfect and more important is to keep making things than making perfect things. Who is perfect anyway?