the internet, my fears, you, and me

I’m scared of the internet. Specifically, I’m afraid of broadcasting anything that I’ve ever thought or created. Posting my art has gotten easier, but writing still terrifies me. It took me 2 years to write my coming out post on facebook. I thought I was ready to come out, I just didn’t have the words. The whole thing ended up being 62 words including the photo description, but that’s after dozens of re-writes. I think I’m afraid of the response. Obviously, I’m afraid of making someone angry or sad, but even “good” responses frighten me. I still need to respond to the response, and that’s even more thoughts that everyone can see. Can I just give this a thumbs up? I have spent a good part of my life seeking the approval of everyone around me, changing myself whenever needed to please others. Writing about myself and my art doesn’t fit nicely that structure. It stands alone, released from my control. 

As an artist though, it’s important to write. Not only to write about my own work, but also to show people who I am as a human. In art classes, my teachers have talked about aligning everything you produce to yourself. It’s cringe-worthy because we’d like to think that the art will stand on it’s own, marching out into the world, militantly capturing hearts and minds, but instead it’s me who has to march. My art will hopefully do some of that, but it will also be me marching with instagram posts at peak hours with appropriate hashtags, facebook posts of upcoming online store sales, blog posts advertised on twitter, comical yet respectable fonts, business cards, packaging. It will mean that I’ll probably annoy some people, maybe make them angry, hopefully not make anyone sad (at least not in a bad way). I knew when I left tech that this is what lay before me. I knew that becoming an artist meant more than just digging into my deep parts and pulling out paintings. The “getting myself out there” part would also be hard. 

I could definitely use to take the whole thing less seriously. There are thousands of posts that I read everyday, and I don’t remember 95% of them. Once more, I have friends who are artists, or who are really hitting the pavement getting their “brand” out there, and it doesn’t bother me. It actually can be nice to see someone putting in the work to make the thing they care about happen. I will mess up, and it probably will be fine. I mean, I suppose eventually it always will be fine. On my coming out facebook post, something like a quarter of my facebook friends liked it, and a couple folks made some nice comments, and two people DM’d me. All very supportive. For something that I was so afraid of, it was so fine. Almost underwhelming. Almost. I always told myself that I couldn’t post stuff online, or promote my art business until I came out.  It’s a half-baked idea, but it persisted with me until I really needed to start my business and needed the help of my friends offline and online. 

So, I guess, please be gentle. I’m learning how to do a new thing. I’m working on some old fears. I’m gonna try my best. And I’ll try to do the same for you, faceless internet friend. I’ll work to be considerate, to let you have your fears and idiosyncrasies, and to love you even if I don’t know you. 

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