Saturday, January 31, 2015

Giving In

Paranoia and delusion have plagued me for as long as I can remember. Being convinced that your friends don't actually like you is no fun, and being petrified - to the point of physical illness - that every invitation to do anything is actually some big joke they're playing on you and no-one will be there when you turn up, well thats no cup of tea either.

While I've mostly managed to get over those thoughts, the low self esteem that goes with them is harder to get over. This manifests in a variety of ways (and while the relative lack of mirrors in the house makes fitting clothing difficult, it is also somewhat of a relief that I can easily avoid seeing myself), but one of the big ones is belief that nothing I do is very good, regardless of what people tell me. Letting people see anything I'm making - sewing, knitting, painting, embroidery, writing, even writing myself lists of household chores - is incredibly difficult, and there have been many times when I've immediately given up whatever I'm doing as soon as someone catches sight of it. Completely irrational, I'm well aware.

I can't stop those thoughts, but I can choose to ignore them, and do things I enjoy anyway, especially if other people seem to enjoy what I've done, too. It is hard. Its is very hard. But it is possible. I can also choose to say "thank you" instead of insisting that they are wrong. Thats harder, but I'm working on it.

Both my mother, and some friends, have asked me to paint for them. I love painting. It is soothing, and distracting, and allows me to retreat into my introvert's bubble without offending anyone. Embroidery is similar, and I pretty much view it as painting with needle and thread, but I really enjoy proper painting, with a paintbrush and liquid colour. Being able to change the colours as I go is almost magical, and painting over mistakes is much easier than unpicking stitches.

My mother's painting is taking a long time. I keep finding flaws, and putting it aside before I do something stupid like ripping the canvas or painting over it with black and starting again. When I go back to it after a couple of days, I either do not notice the flaws that riled me up so much, or I find I am easily able to fix them and continue. Most importantly, she loves it.

The amount of praise my friends' painting received was almost distressing, and definitely embarrassing, but I am glad to have been able to help them out, and in the end I am actually fairly pleased with the results, and they were thrilled, so thats great. I'm also impressed with how easy house paint is to work with. I generally use acrylics, but the texture of house paint vs. artists paint is quite different. I prefer artists paint, but the results from house paint were entirely reasonable. Working on such a large scale was interesting, too.

I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to take a compliment easily, or be feel entirely comfortable sharing my work with other people, but feeling joy in creation, and seeing joy on other's faces at the things I make is worth it in the long run, I think. And despite myself I have to admit that it's kinda fun to know that so many people will see something I've made, which I think is a step in the right direction.


  1. Is that on a door? It looks great! Sorry your brain has been giving you a hard time. I was thinking of your prawn embroidery recently when I was stitching something. I think your stitches must be infinitessimally smaller than mine to get such a result. (And that's meant to be a genuine compliment, and you're welcome!)

    1. Thankyou! Yes, he's painted on a door. My friends have opened a cafe, and I've been helping them out with painting and whatnot. After refining and colourising their logo, they decided I was arty enough to do all sorts of other things, too, so I ended up painting a gecko on a door and covering their walls with gecko footprints!

      My prawn is pretty small. I don't have him handy right now, but if memory serves, he'd fit in the palm of my hand. One of the things I found helpful was to make sure to use a hoop so the fabric was taut, and to make sure to use a small, blunt needle. I just can't get my stitches right if I use a sharp needle, and I have no idea why.