I had this realisation last night about the amount of anxiety and uncertainty about what I’m doing. How people might not potentially accept my pursuit of illustration.
But why on earth should I care about appealing to people who don’t have the same values as me? Why should I bother when their ideas don't align with mine? Why should I worry when they aren’t going to be the ones that push me further ahead? Why should I care when these people aren't going to support me?
When I think about my career path and what I “want from” my illustration pursuit, it can at times fill me up with a tonne of anxiety. The lack of a guarantee that it will all ‘work out” horrifies me. We’re not all lucky enough to do the things we love, but we have to be incredibly bold, to pursue the things we love.
Call it cynical or realistic, but not everyone gets what they want. We’ve all seen people fail at a pursuit or give up on what they wanted due to the burden of just how hard it was to reach a particular goal. When the uncertainty of achieving our goals come to mind, the lack of a say "time of achievement" can really bring us down. It could be tomorrow, it could be the year after or it could never be. In our critical world, we can often look at other people and think “maybe at this point it was a good time to give up”. Why bother with trying something that could potentially lead to nowhere?
Often when meeting new people, I tend to hate telling them about “what I do”. Because often when you meet new people, that’s the defining characteristic of how to gauge a person. At least in our society, we’re conditioned to think this is the case. When I tell people that on the side of my day job I draw memes and want that to be my full-time gig; I feel absolutely insane. I feel like saying this is basically saying “hey I’m really naive and immature and will never have my shit together”. I like to consider myself as someone who’s quite focused and driven, yet when I explain what I do it honestly just cripples me because the wider public/majority of people just don’t “get it”.
I was walking home from work one day really thinking about all of this and letting it sink in when I started to feel horrible about myself. Until I realised “why the fuck does this matter?”. Like why does it matter if I don’t appeal to everyone? Why does it matter that what I’m doing won’t appeal to all demographics? Why does it matter if what I’m doing doesn’t make sense to everyone?
Then it got me thinking about the types of people my career path won’t appeal to; are they really people I’m needing support from? Are they really people I’m wanting to seek acceptance from? At the moment I’m trying to build a career around myself that’s lively, humorous and entertaining. As infectious as humour is not everyone is wanting that, and not everyone is expecting that from their say career.
People often project onto other people opinions that they can fathom themselves doing. A classic example of this is when people announce they’re having a baby. Close friends or people who aren’t ready for a baby will typically say “that’s insane, oh my god that’s so crazy are you really going to do that?”. Yet people who are open to the idea of having kids will be endlessly supportive. It’s important to know when taking other peoples opinions on board that their advice might not necessarily be what's best for you. Their advice could be coming from a place where they're projecting their worldview, without any regard for what you want from your life.
When we have our own insecurities, it’s hard to take on other peoples judgement towards things that are important to us. It can cloud our judgement and take our confidence down a few notches. Though if we centre ourselves with our deep wants, we can push through all of the fickle segments that don’t matter and keep pushing toward the more crucial aspects of our lives.
We need to root ourselves in better self-awareness to face some of the hardships that come our way. Don’t be afraid to get writing and journaling to clarify your thoughts and personal perspective to gain more clarity. Do what activities to become more self-aware and to learn more about yourself. It truly is the way to living a more enriching and better life.