Yesterday, I had the opportunity of hanging my photographs up for others to see. For days before the opening, I was a nervous wreck. Self promotion has never been my strong suit. It makes me uncomfortable to get so much attention, but as I started pursuing freelance work, I realized that was the most important thing that I had to overcome.
It took me a great deal of time to conquer this fear. I was uneasy about moving forward, so I made sure to take each step at my own pace: the first time I signed my name on a post, the first time I shared it on Facebook, etc.
I read somewhere that many are paralyzed by self promotion due to “a deep-seated belief that no matter how good their achievements, they will ultimately be discovered as a fraud.” Man, was I scared of someone telling me I didn’t know what I was doing. So I moved slowly as I mentioned above. Everything was going great until things took a turn and I found myself without the safety net of a 9 to 5 job. I never asked myself what was next because I knew in my gut that the answer had been waiting for me to grow a pair. And so, I blindly began creating a website, forming a brand, and finally, I worked with a friend on a business card.
I threw myself into creating something and with that, I was ready.
This post is dedicated to all those people that not only have an idea, but are terrified of sharing it. Maybe it’s harder on the ones that have to stand alone, the few of us that don’t have a staff to stand with us. I don’t know if this is a common fear, but it’s important that I talk about it. As artists or creators, we reach a turning point—it’s this moment when we decide, “I don’t care what the world thinks. I have to get this idea in my head out there. I need to do this.” I think that’s when we become worthy of the ideas in our head; that’s when we’ve found the grace to move forward.
When I felt that surface, I knew I was ready. It’s not about me, it never was. These ideas just come to me and I plan to spend the rest of my life trying to give them breath. The constructive criticism I’ve received has made it better, the support I’ve gotten lifts the spirit, but none of it comes without the sharing. And it’ll never stop being scary, despite not caring what people think. As a photographer from yesterday said to me, “Nerves are good. It means that it’s special to you.”
So, bench your ego, go sit down at your desk and work. You don’t create buzz. All you do is work and share it. If there is no buzz, it’s okay, keep working. If there is buzz—if there is so much buzz that you feel overwhelmed go to the bathroom and take a deep breath…because you know what that means? It means that you just might get the chance to live out your dreams for the rest of your life.
I stood there, watching the crowd sway from one picture to the next as the symphony of voices played over. I felt blessed to be in a room full of people that were excited about something I helped bring to life. But like a bride on her wedding day, I was in a different place. “You’ll be hearing from me,” she said as she took the business card from my hand and walked away. I slowly walked towards the bathroom and slide the door behind me, taking a breath as I traced the edges of the business cards in my hand. It took looking up to the mirror to realize that my head was softly shaking from left to right. As I pulled myself together, I let out of a deep breath—Holy shit.
So show your work. Not because you think you’re the best and not because you think you’re the hottest thing since sliced bread, because you aren’t. None of us will ever be because ideas like “greatest” and “best,” don’t really exist. Do it because you believe in it. If anything, thats all the world needs, people that believe in things.
So the answer to the title is yes, yes, I am the artist. Thank you for coming,
A special thanks to everyone who made this possible. You know who you are. Mil veces—gracias. ❤