2.24.2012

big ol' scary white space.


A few semesters of my college career were spent in drawing and painting classes, days which could only be described as intimidating. (Full disclosure: They were tolerable only due to one very handsome British instructor.) Classes would start at 8am and last til 11am...I felt every second of those three hours. For the first hour, I'd fiddle with erasers, brushes and palettes until it was no longer possible to disguise the truth: I was buying time until I absolutely, positively had to commit to putting a colorful mark on that big blank white space.

Life for me, recently, has felt that way: a blank white space. I'm at this really beautiful place where I have time, energy, the ability to throw myself into something new, and a husband who is endlessly supportive of my creativity. There are vibrant colors just waiting to hit the canvas...I have so many ideas rolling around in my head. I could say, "I'm going to write a book...or spend every minute blogging...or open a small creative business...or devote all my time to learning French."

And God bless my husband. He's told me to do all of those things, he really believes I could do anything.

But right now, I'm scared of that big white space. Instead of taking myself seriously as a creative girl, I've been fiddling with little creative things here or there without committing to a bigger plan. And that's solely out of fear. 

When I crack past that layer of creative inferiority, I know I'm a gutsy girl. I planned a wedding in eight weeks, I flew to a foreign country to meet my husband and I've walked the streets of the middle east alone! In so many ways, I'm gutsy and have faith in my skill set. But dedicating myself to a first colorful, creative move...putting the first brushstroke on the canvas and solidly saying, "I'm doing this. Even if it's bumpy and awkward at first...I'm going to become great at it..."

...well, it's got me struggling. And I don't know if admitting it is a wise move, but I always try to be honest 'round here. So there it is, friends.

Do you ever feel that way about life? Just inexplicably, beyond frightened to make that first colorful stroke? How do you battle it?

16 comments:

  1. The thing with painting is that it doesn't have to be permanent. I paint with acrylics and go ahead with the mindset that if I do something I don't like, I can just paint over it.

    I'm not sure if that applies to real life as well.... maybe? Whatever 'mistakes' you make, the people who really matter wont think any worse of you. What do you have to lose?

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  2. Wow, I am feeling exactly this right now. Its all just so big and perfect already that I don't know where to start putting my mark down. I have lots of ideas, boy I do, just freaking out over actually beginning them.

    Good luck with your new canvas Bethany, fingers crossed for mine! xx

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  3. You will be amazing with anything that you do!!! Never stop dreaming!!!

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  4. i feel the same way!

    i just take a deep breath and commit (either by doing whatever it is, or not)
    as long as i make a decision to do it or stop worrying about it i feel like that is a putting a mark on the painting :)

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  5. I can identify sooooo much with this post, Bethany. Honestly, it is how I feel today and a lot lately.

    I'm working toward starting my own Etsy business and I'm getting my GED. Once I've finished my GED I feel like I have this whole blank page just waiting to be filled. But, I'm afraid of choosing the wrong color, brush, word, or so on.
    I've always been a dreamer and a planner, but honestly, my health issues have put limitations on what I can do. I can;t run out and work a job for eight hours or work retail or something that puts me on my feet a lot. I could only take one or two college classes at a time. And so on...
    So, in some ways I feel like some of the colors I would have been brave enough to choose for those first marks on the blank space of being done with school aren't available.

    Sorry, that sounds so mellow-dramatic. I think I just needed to vent and let some of my emotions out.

    My blog friend, I hope that we both choose to be brave and make those first marks upon the blank white space soon.

    You're lovely and so very talented! I'm excited to hear what you do.

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  6. Bethany, I'm your newest follower. Like many of your others readers have, I totally relate to this post. In a little less than a year, I've graduated college, moved, started a new job, and am currently planning my wedding. I've started so many new chapters in my life and while it's exciting it's also a bit stressful. I guess I am still just trying to figure out the direction I want to go with all these new changes. Wishing you the best of luck on whatever journey you choose to take!

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  7. yes, yes, yes. You are in my head exactly. For me, getting started is easily the most difficult part.

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  8. Wow Bethany, I know exactly how you feel. I have had a lot of doors opening and closing in my life right now and I am really scared to choose the wrong one and be the wrong person. So, right now I am trying to learn the very hard practice of waiting for the right thing to come along in God's timing. In the meantime however, I can't say that my best friend and my mentor don't hear a lot about my frustrations.

    I know I've never commented on any of your posts before, but I found your blog about a month ago and almost instantly wished that you lived closer to California so that we could meet in real life and be friends! Thanks so much for your blog. I have loved learning about your life and it has been a real encouragement to see that someone else has the same worries and issues that I do. Have a beautiful day!

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  9. Well yes, my friend, I have felt that way. Most of my adult life in fact. I always knew I was never doing what I really should be doing. I just couldn't ever pinpoint what that thing was! Obviously I think I found the main thing, which lets me focus on planning events and lets all my other creative crap be my hobby. It's actually been quite freeing.

    I CANNOT wait for you to jump into something. You are just so darn talented and are at such a great point in life to do something amazing. And having the support of your husband is all you can ever ask for.

    I also can't wait to sit up late and talk about it in person!!! In like a month!!!

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  10. o my - i had this feeling for three years while at art school - i thought if the first stroke goes wrong everything is wrong.

    so now, at first i do a few very "wrong" strokes, get it all out and then i can start off. i have too notebooks filled with "wrongs" and actually they are great somehow looking at them now.

    don´t try to be perfect at first!

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  11. Good look Bethany!! this is a wonderful post. Deciding to move away from home to the midwest was one of the hardest decisions I've made, but I had great friends & family who supported my goal and still do. I would love to expand my limits creatively and spend more time writing and doing crafts and DIY projects while I'm in school, it just seems overwhelming right now, so that's the new blank page.

    I wish you the best and eager to see your canvas unfold!

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  12. I feel the same way. Don't know what I want to do, but what I am currently doing is most definitely not it. But, afraid to make a change to something new at the same time. Sigh.

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  13. It's like you just described my life. Seriously. And judging by the other comments here, it looks like there's a lot of us in the same boat. But like, Katelyn said, if you do something you don't like (or it doesn't turn out the way you originally thought), you can easily 'paint' over it and try again.

    Taking that first step is always the hardest, but if it's seriously something you want to do, I know you will find a way :)

    x Jasmine

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  14. I can identify with this post so much. I don't know what to tell you except you're not alone! Being creative often isn't seen as viable to many, especially those who focus on making money and living a certain way, but in the end, you have to do what makes you happy.

    I myself am stuck at a dead end 9-5 job and am teetering on the edge of jumping into the unknown but exciting creative life I want. But the thing is you will make mistakes and that's what helps you become "a good one". Good luck!

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  15. your paints are so pretty!!

    i think a lot of perfectionists have these same setbacks! but the best part is you can learn from mistakes! most of these "mistakes" can be easily altered and turned into something beautiful. afterall, life is about the journey, not the destination.

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