Monday, August 22, 2011

Noises in the Night

I was awakened from a very deep sleep by a noise at 4am (well, actually it was 3:52). In my sleep-dazed state, I was convinced it was the sound of someone trying to open the front door.  I silently listened for further noises. Nothing.  I was about to turn over to go back to sleep and a voice in my head said, "What if there really is someone out there?  I better get up and turn on a light.  That will scare them off." So I tiptoed to the edge of the hallway, reached in and turned on the light in the living room.  Then I sent my sleepy husband out to investigate further. (Funny how things I did for myself when I was single are now relegated to  my husband.  But that's a topic for another time.)

Once the adrenaline wore off, I lay in bed, unable to go back to sleep. I pondered the reasons such a small noise would cause that reaction.  I feel very safe in my neighborhood. But when I was in my early 20's I had two experiences that threatened my personal safety.  It has taken many years to overcome my feeling of vulnerability.

Then I started thinking how this was a good metaphor for what we often do with our art.  Most of us have unfounded fears related to creating and exhibiting our art. While some of the fears may be universal, I believe that we each have our own vulnerable areas. Our "noises in the night".

One of the ways I have worked to overcome my art-related fears is to make a list.  I think of the worst thing that could happen if my fear came to be. I know it sounds pretty strange for a confirmed optimist to purposely think negative thoughts.And I usually do try to banish negative thinking from my mind.  However I have found that it does help in this case.  When I contemplate what could happen, I realize it really isn't the end of the world. It may not be fun, but I know I would get through it. So I completely embrace the fear, let the feelings wash over me. As I realize all is well, the fear recedes and I can leave those vulnerabilities behind.

What are your "noises in the night" and how do you deal with them?

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