Delivery day is creeping up on me and I can feel the fear slipping in. It is like all of the bubble gum I have stuffed in the cracks of my life are beginning to give way!
Every single year….The delivery drive to the “Nude Nite” venue feels like a slow walk to the gallows. A litany of questions unravels inside my head, as I get closer and closer.
"They must have made a mistake."
"My work is not good enough!"
"Why did they select this piece?"
"If I turn around now and run, they will never know it was me.”
As I pull into the parking lot, I wonder if the other artists are panicking too. Do they have the same list of ugly thoughts playing in their heads…or is it just me?
After I arrive, climb down out of the van and walk toward the line of artists checking in, I keep my image turned in and clutched to my chest, I do not want anyone to see it. Somewhere in my ridiculous thought process, I still think I am keeping my option open and can turn and run the other way. Finally, it is my turn, the commitment is about to be made. Without emotion or approval, they ask my name, have me sign the legal documents, and hand me a brown manila envelope with my name on it, it contains a lanyard and comp. tickets. I gather up the paperwork and artwork and walk into the gallery area where no one notices me, it is a simple matter of fact business transaction of dropping off art. The curators will make the decisions later where and how all of this artwork hangs and the Installers will set about the job of hanging over 200 pieces of art.
I go to the empty spot I was directed to and stand long enough to take a deep breath, before setting my work down. I feel everyone in the room is watching and knows that I am just plain not good enough to be here! After I set my work down and unwrap it, I finally feel brave enough to lift my eyes and look around. All of the sudden it is not about me anymore! I am surrounded by the energy of incredible artists, artwork, massive amounts of glorious unimaginable talent, images that take my breath away and a feeling of incredible satisfaction and belonging envelopes me. I am surrounded by magnificent creatives and their work and energy. Like storm clouds clearing, my breathing slows and my heart calms. At that precise moment, I know this is exactly what I am meant to do. This moment is what makes all of the fear worth it…It is that fleeting but so very real moment that I feel the universe wrap its arms around me and lovingly tell me…this is who and what you are. I am embraced in the "knowing" like a big warm hug. This is why I am alive.
This horrible paralyzing fear is always going to be a part of the journey. I do not think I will ever get used to it. I just have to know it will be there every time I deliver artwork for an exhibition. I have to do the work, show up and move through the fear. For this, I am rewarded with the unquestionable understanding that this is who and what I am in the world. This is the amazing gift of being an artist that I do not think most people will ever have the opportunity to understand….
"It's Don't Come Easy" George Harrison