The Fearful Artist

Fear seems to be a big part of why I don’t create. Over the years, my own fears have eroded my desire to create and to push on. It is a strange thing, to be so in love with your craft, but to be terrified of it once you are faced with it.

One afternoon I was sitting in Starbucks. My time there was one continuous sigh. I go here to get away, to find time to relax, to allow my brain a release and a chance to recharge. And yet, I find myself in a panic each time I visited. Thoughts such as Nows the time I must create. You don’t have much time. What do you want to do? No one will create you future but you blah blah blah. A phenomenal rainbow of thoughts, each color a different shade of fear and pressure. I don’t know how it happened, but in my adult years, I have totally lost the ability to relax and to allow my own self to drift through my work and what I do. My confidence was slowly stripped away by own own doing.

When you are sitting in a cafe, the last thing you want to be doing is thinking of this. Questioning yourself, who you are, your own competence and abilities. And yet without interruption, I have somehow made criticism my daily meditation.

I looked back at my accomplishments, and felt nothing. All that I felt was what I hadn’t done, and what I should do from now. I looked at my goals from this past year, and all had yet to be accomplished.

Why is this? Is it because my crushing pressure and high standards of myself were taking its toll on me? Was it because I was messaging my boyfriend too much? Was looking at too many images of artists who were doing better than me? Was it because I still didn’t have the equipment that I wanted and needed? Or could it be that I didn’t actually believe in my own abilities, and was just biding my time. Or, maybe this age of digital wasn’t actually for me, and my world and creativity had been stunted by the endless possibilities. They did say that more choice was worse than fewer choices, didn’t they?

I knew it was ridiculous. None of them made any sense when I thought it out. The pressure wasn’t real, I didn’t need to do anything I didn’t want to. I was free to create anything, or to create nothing. That’s the thing about art, it shouldn’t be rushed and it shouldn’t be forced, no more than you can make water run down a stream quicker. You can only remove the rocks.

As for my boyfriend. Yeah, probably. I tend to lose my own personal focus when I’m in a relationship. I can’t help but think of the fate of two lives than just my own. In a way, its my own creative project, thinking about what the future will be like and what we could and should do. It was also a slight addition. I find solace in having a partner, its fun, its always wonderful to have someone that cares about you, its just not healthy to be careless about it.

Images though..the vast endless array of impeccable artists with incredible lives. They all say its possible too—to be like them, to do what they do. And of course it is, there is always that sliver of possibility that says if you follow the blueprint perfectly, you could do it as well. But its ridiculous to say that to someone who has an opposite life in a completely different situation. It’s not fair, and it’s not reasonable. I always felt like they should put their focus on telling people that they shouldn’t aspire to be them. Different people need and want different things, instead of continually getting bombarded with propaganda that tells them what their lives should look like.

As for equipment….yeah maybe. That one could actually be possible to some degree. But it was still implausible as to why all my art suffered, and not just the side that required equipment.

One thing, I thought to myself, I was hardly ever creating. It was rare that I created, and it was rare that I made mistakes. I didn’t allow myself to. Something about it was too painful, coming short was painful.

But maybe, what if, it didn’t have to be? What if I didn’t even think about it, and allowed my body to go on auto pilot with the art, forcing the side of the critique out. So long, you have overstayed your welcome in the gallery. And just let me..be me.

Perhaps I was afraid to do things wrong. To share too much, to give too much away. To reveal pain and failure was to be one. Maybe though, just maybe, it wasn’t.

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Shell Within Shell.

reyliaslaby
I AM PAPER SERIES ©Reylia Slaby 2016

 

 

Today I was again caught in a whirlwind. A cruel, blustery tempest. These past few days have been full of me chasing after myself, but then running away from it as well. I fidget all day, carrying this anxious feeling within my chest, that threatens to choke me. It seems to say: When is it good enough? “It” being the art I produce, or rather, myself. I spend so much time fixated on it’s perfection in my mind, rather than production of the physical art itself. I am aware of this in myself, and it leaves me in even more suffering and guilt, stuck within a vicious circle. I tell myself that perhaps this is growth, but I find myself trapped within shell within shell, like a matryoshka doll.

Even as I type, I am fearful. Will even this be good enough? Where have I developed this abnormal fear of imperfection from? Perhaps it was something that naturally permeated and stained my being after being birthed and bred in the Japanese culture? A slow trickle of poison. Undetectable in small doses. Could that be the culprit?

Because when I was younger, I remember not fearing anything. I remember what it felt to be inspired by a piece of work rather than intimidated of or jealous of it.

Can I reclaim that sense of self? Hopefully I can find it again this year.

Always,

r.

http://www.reyliaslaby.com

My desire of perfection.

hikarusmall

 

I’ve been overthinking lately. Unfortunately my mind has, in a way, been devouring itself. Starting one thing, stopping it, then starting anew at something else. Why must I let myself spiral into this? Part of me is thinking that perhaps in a way my stress and sadness fuels my joy in some way. That this discomfort is my body and mind’s way of communicating to me that there is something else out there. That I have yet to break out of my shell, my mold, this skin that I have to deal with…

I shake with fear of this. Thinking about having to extend, bend and expand myself leaves me with a nauseous feeling. It is me being a coward. Because while I don’t fear growth, I fear mistakes. And I know my desire of perfection will be my main hinderance. I make an attempt to shout to the universe, to tell me what is best, only to realize that I stand alone in a dark, wet cave, and the only sounds I hear are the echoes of my own voices against it’s rocky walls. Yes, voices; I have more than one.

I beg myself to just continue, to not get distracted by feelings that will be long-gone by next week. To just continue.

Always,

r.


the title is “Un”.

model:hikaru

The Box

4

the box, the box.

who opened you?

not I, said the heart.

nor I, cried the mind.

for the keeper of the key

had long since died.

the box, the box.

where feelings are stored.

who opened you?

you had vowed,

that you would never be

unlocked again.

——–

I’m feeling something new tonight. Disappointment never felt this sweet before. I realized that the more I embrace this feeling, the more it fades. It’s unfortunate that the same applies to people.

Self Portraits&poem by Reylia Slaby

http://www.reyliaslaby.com

Staring

reylia copy

 

When I was a little girl, I loved to spend time staring at my own reflection. I remember that I did this quite often until around the age of twelve. Twelve was when I developed a nasty disease called insecurity, and looking at myself began to produce negative feelings. Prior to that, I was fascinated with looking at myself, and I did it often. I have old pictures that my parents took of myself staring in the mirror. I believe it was separate from any narcissism. All the feelings I remember having was just a simple curiosity and wonder of the body I was living in. I even remember inviting a friend to stare with me once, but he didn’t understand why I found looking into a mirror of any interest. I especially loved staring into my reflection from a car window during a nighttime drive. My face would be layered with the stars, the moon, and the sky, and I felt that in this way I was part of them. I believed that my dim reflection was not only the little me then, but me in the future. At eight years old I believed I knew what I looked like at twenty. I read it in the subtle lines of my face. I felt it as I studied myself breathe. I saw hints of my future in the depths of my eyes.

I’ve gotten a bit older, and at 22 I’ve found that this little habit has made it’s way back in my life a bit. A lot of insecurities regarding my physical appearance have been washed away, and now I find myself fascinated again with looking.

Always,

Reylia

My train was coming.

japan-photo-black-and-white

Today, as I was going home after work, I leaned against a metal pillar on the platform of Fuse station. The sun was rapidly submerging itself under the horizon, and spashed a colorful gradient of yellows and reds against the sky. I closed my eyes. The crisp spring wind took my hair and danced happily with it. As I filled my lungs with this air, I felt joy. I heard the announcement for my approaching train, and yet, I stood still, unmoving.

This one moment lasted 5 minutes, and was the absolute best part of today.

Always,

Reylia

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Sunsets & Trains

japan-train-photography

I like carrying my camera around. When I first began shooting out in the town, I preferred taking pictures of people’s shoes since I was too timid to shoot faces. In Japan, I don’t see much “street photography”. There are, of course, plenty of tourists with their DSLRs, although that seems hardly a substitute for a photographer whose intention is to capture the essence and heart of a people—of a city. Since there aren’t so many shooters out, I am often anxious as to how people will receive me. I become paranoid when I point my lens at a person, and a rush of wild worry flows through me. Click.

Somehow, despite Japan being more conservative, I feel that it is a lot easier for me to shoot on the streets here, than compared with the States. Confrontation seemed a lot more possible in America, whereas for here, people are more reluctant to talkat least to me. I have never spent much time in the U.S, although, and have only visited 3 times in recent memory, so that might have contributed to my apprehension. When I did shoot, I was asked more than once “Did you take my picture?” Although it was all friendly, I dreaded the possibility that I would one day photograph someone who would react in anger.

But here, I think I will continue taking photos of the outside world, instead of simply restricting myself to conceptual shoots. If I truly enjoy both, why shouldn’t I do both?

Yesterday when I went out to take an ASL class in Kyoto, I brought my camera and shot this image along the way. It had been snowing, so it was brilliant that the sun eventually came out.

I was indeed spoiled by the California weather. It has been raining and snowing on and off ever since I came back home to Japan; ergo, I am definitely one of the happiest when the weather is beautiful.

Always,

Reylia

Website || http://www.reyliaslaby.com/
Twitter || http://www.reyliaslaby.com/
Instagram || http://www.instagram.com/reylia.slaby
Blog || http://www.reyliaslaby.wordpress.com/