It’s crazy to me how promptly my psyche starts to sabotage any amount of success I experience. I self-published a book last night, and almost immediately the chorus began. “You just self-published, that doesn’t mean anything, no one will ever read it anyway.” I even started feeling like I was ripping people off who decided to buy it. And that’s ridiculous! I know because the reason I self-published it is because I believe that the traditional style of poetry is no longer widely appreciated which is why I think I have struggled so much in selling the poems. I truly believe these poems are the highest quality, and need to be out there for the world to see. And yet, my subconscious has decided they are worthless. Probably because it decided long ago that I am worthless.
But what is making it do this? Is it some inferiority complex I have developed as a result of my upbringing? Is it laziness? Or is this just something every artist faces? I tend to think it is the latter, because so many other artists have told me they experience the same thing. So apparently it isn’t just me. It may be something in our make up as humans that creates this self-sabotage.
The thing that gets me though, is what purpose does that serve? In what way does it help an artist to immediately feel that they are and always will be a failure as soon as they accomplish something? Are the gods working against us? Trying to shut us down? Or is the devil realer than we ever thought, and he is frantically angry that we have defied his challenges to create something? I hope it’s that, though I often fear it is the first.
I guess it is up to us as artists then to keep going and pray that it isn’t the gods who are stopping us, but something else. Not necessarily out of confidence or certainty of which side we are on, but because we have to. Creators must create, it is in our blood, art begs to leave us like the river from our sliced open skin. I stopped breathing for a while and released I needed to open my mouth. So write, play, dream, so that you can breathe, I suppose, and live.