Realising Your Achievements
I have been feeling pretty rubbish lately; family problems, poor health and life not going as I want it to have left me feeling, well shit to be honest. In my head I have a picture of what life should be like and how I should be and my reality never matches up (I suffer from a chronic illness and am always tired, in pain, and in a wheelchair for one).
I find that I become totally fixated upon my failures and the negative part of my reality. This is not helped by my friends (who have all but disappeared since I became ill and my eldest was found to be autistic), family and the difficulties of trying to home educate a son with quite severe autism; run a business and be artistically fulfilled.
I have been trying to set up an arts charity aimed at supporting and helping children with developmental disabilities for nearly 9 months and I have suffered numerous set backs. I have had my entire concept stolen by an arts organisation I had a meeting with and then set up without me.
An arts project aimed at showcasing the reality of living with autism in the family has had recurring problems, with promises of help (especially when I did free work for charities) not coming to fruition. With trying to get people to send in their images rather than just RT me on twitter, or saying they will and then not(two distinctly different things people). You can find out more here: truthaboutautismproject.com
Basically I have been left feeling pretty dejected….. why am I such a failure I have lamented (a lot). But then, a few nights ago I started to think……
Hang on a minute…….. am I really such a failure?
As I pondered on this I realised that “No” I really am not such a failure after all. Sure I have not won International accolades for my work; or even sold huge amounts but I have (whilst being ill/disabled, with a disabled child, home educating, trying to run a business, and developing GAD (severe anxiety disorder)):
Done various free work for charities (including some people on twitter who I now realise are more about self-promotion)
Tried to start a charity (yes it hasn’t worked so far, but it might)
Had my work in seven exhibitions around the UK
Been featured in an art book
Had a small film I made shown in another country
Had my photography featured in a magazine
Completed a community arts project for a pre school
Have my first exhibition of 2014 lined up already
and I have probably forgotten something too.
So am I really a failure?
I’ve realised the answer is No. Yes, maybe I didn’t set the world alight in 2013 but maybe my time is just around the corner. Yes, maybe my second attempt at self employment (my only option with my health) did fail but that means I can start again and things will maybe be better next time.
At least this year I have started making inroads to the life I want. My life has always been about art and photography. As an undergraduate it was easy, the head of Art and Media, prof Dewdney even called my mother when I had a nervous breakdown and returned home, to tell her I was an “artistic genius”; I was called into his office to ask why I wasn’t aiming higher than where I had moved to (I was at a prestigious Uni, had a breakdown and jacked it all in to go to a “new” uni that people ridiculed… even I don’t know why I did this). I lived in a bubble of thinking my talent would see me through. When the real world didn’t happen like that I became depressed. After my MA (which took me 5 years owing to my illness and my supervisor’s demands that I “suspend” owing to my health) I kind of gave up on my artistic work and accepted it would never happen for me.
Then last year, before my head injury my husband sat me down (I am always sat down pretty much) for a talk and decided to tell me how I was miserable because I wasn’t living the life I was meant to and was resisting what I loved to do. He encouraged me to give my artistic career another shot (I had not exhibited in years and had only done work for my own eyes) and so I did. Considering I have such low self-confidence and took so long off I think I’ve done pretty well.
The point is this:
Tomorrow is a new day, as long as you have breath in your body you have hope. Just because you’re not where you dreamed of being, right now, doesn’t mean it will never happen; but to get there YOU have to take the right steps. YOU need to recognise opportunity and take it when it presents itself and if at first you don’t succeed: keep trying.
None of us are failures and if we think about it for a minute, we have probably all achieved more in the last year than we give ourselves credit for. We tend to only take notice of the bad, of those things which confirm our opinion of ourselves (if we have low self-esteem) but if we take a step back from a minute and act rationally we may be pleasantly surprised!