Esteem

I’ve been hesitant to post anything  since my hosting provider took my site down on Monday. I have since learned that WordPress multisites tend to be rather CPU intensive, and that some hosting providers don’t even allow them, at least, not on shared servers, which is what this is.

I’ve been looking into various solutions, but if the site goes down again, well, just know that it’ll come up again, eventually.

That said, I’ve been thinking about “self esteem” and “art” and “aikido” and a variety of other things for a while. This is probably all going to come out in a jumble, but I’m going to do my best.

It has come to my attention that several people think I have low self-esteem.

I don’t really argue the point, because, honestly, I’m not really sure I know what self-esteem is. I don’t feel bad about myself. I mean, I do, but that’s usually a depression issue, and I’m pretty aware of it and have other ways of coping and compensating for it. If you were to ask me, “Do you like yourself?” I would say, “Sure, I’m a pretty funny and nice person to be around.” Which sort of leads me to thinking I’m okay on the whole self-evaluation thing.

I think what people pick up on is that there are a lot of things I’m not good at, and I don’t hold back when I critique myself. (And for the record, I mean “critiquing” not “criticizing”). I know I’m not the best artist out there – I’d say I’m not even in the top 30% or 40%. My art tends to be “good enough;” I’d say I’m better than average.

Same with my aikido: I am aware of some of (what I think) are the core concepts, and while I am usually smooth (as opposed to jerking my uke around) and aware (for a given value of “aware”) I am also miles and leagues away from where I want to be. From even where I should be, after six years of practice. I am slow, and I am easily flustered. I forget simple movements, and I concentrate so much on “connection” that I forget we’re supposed to be fighting, not feeling. I think too much, and haven’t trained my body to react properly. Even when I do react well I usually hesitate mid-action and lose the moment.

A lot of this I chalk up to, “Well, I was in school and had to really concentrate on graduating. I didn’t have time to give aikido my all…” But that’s not how it works, is it? You make time for the things, when you really want to.

So maybe, (and here we go, some psuedo-psychology) I identify myself as too much of a person that is “just good enough.” I really do identify myself as “someone who tries, but doesn’t really succeed.” Maybe (and I say this with a shrug) that’s why I’m never able to fully commit myself to aikido as much as I would like to? Maybe it’s why my art has never really pushed past that 30% -40% barrier?

I have found a comfortable area (where I like being me) and where I’m only an average person: not really good at a lot of things, kind of terrible at other things, indifferent about most. Part of this could be in reaction to when I was younger. When I was growing up, I “had to be the best.” No one ever told me I had to, it was just something I was compelled by. I felt that I had to “prove everyone wrong,” and be the most amazing person, ever, in the history of everything.

It was a lot of stress, and I don’t think I ever really excelled at any of the things I tried to do, despite my determination.

When I met John, he would often tell me that things were “okay,” and that projects didn’t have to be perfect. He spent a lot of time wearing away at my type-a personality (and it may surprise those of you that know me now to imagine me as type-a) and while I’m never really and truly “relaxed,” I am happier these days. I’ve learned to accept being average, and that ‘average’ is not a bad thing at all. After all, writing and drawing comics (even if they’re not professional quality,) are things I enjoy.

I know that I no longer have to be “the best” at anything, and while it may seem to some people that I have no drive or ambition, it doesn’t. It just means I don’t get as mad as I used to when I fail, which means (I think?) that I’m more willing to try new things. I’m willing to fail in front of people (even though, honestly, I’d LIKE to be a hotshot and succeed at everything I try, I no longer feel that I have to.)

It also means that I maybe don’t go to aikido classes as much as I should, and that I don’t practice in my sketchbook as much as I want to. Contentment is a mixture of good and bad habits, I think.

This is all pretty long winded. I wanted to write about getting out of an art slump instead, but I think I had to write about this, so you’ll know where I’m coming from in my next post.

 

 

6 Responses

  1. I like you just fine. You’re one of the nicest people I ever met, And I think you’re good at lots of stuff. Beyond good at many things. I only regret that you don’t get more cheese.

    • Hey lady! I’ve been thinking about you lately!

      Also, you’d be pleased to hear that I’ve been adding cheese to my veggie kibble lately (beans, frozen veggies & green chilie = veggie kibble!)

  2. I think you have good self esteem and a healthy balance of pushing yourself to grow and learn (in Aikido and otherwise) while not feeling the need to be the ‘best’. I enjoyed your reflections – thanks for sharing.

    • Aww… thank you Sophia! Yeah, after I wrote this I was all excited to start coming to aikido regularly (now that most of the summer conventions are winding down) and then I got wicked sick. I’m slowly working my way through this dang cold, and hope to start training more regularly again! It’d be nice to see all of you a little more often than just randomly/once in a while!

  3. I like your attitude towards things. I’ve been very critical of my work and after meeting you, I’ve just been doing my art and if it not perfect it’s okay. I would say you’ve inspired me in a way. (if your esteem was any kind of low, I hope that lifted it) 😀

    • GOOD! I really like your Ginja comic, and I’m very glad to see you creating (and sharing more stuff on twitter/instagram!)

      I think as artists it’s incredibly easy to become critical of your work (and not in a good way – where it makes you stop creating is definitely a bad thing.)

      I think I feel pretty good about things, but no doubt: it makes me feel even better to hear you’re creating more!

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