fearing success

It’s my worst skill, selling my art work.  I have complained for twenty some-odd years that my work never sells, but it will never sell if I never get it out there.  I’ve tried craft stores and have met with decent success.  I’ve tried some art shows with similar results.  There is interest, people ask, people want.  So, what’s the problem?  The problem is, I have a profound fear of failing to succeed.  Whenever my work begins to catch on and demand rises I shrivel away from it and create the very failure that I fear.  Why?  I know, I know.   I can blame the parents for perpetually warning me not to be upset if I failed whenever I attempted some new venture(first girl on the local baseball league, brownies, trying out for sports, submitting to art shows, getting into college, etc).  They had low expectations of their kids with good intentions.  They wanted us to know they loved us whatever we did.  But, this left me believing I was often way out of my league so I would succumb to my insecurities and  under achieve.  

 I’m 44 now, but I still feel as though I am twelve.  When does that feeling go away?  If my son’s teacher ushers me to the corner of the classroom to discreetly alert me to a problem, I can feel my pigtails growing back and wish I could stuff my hands deep into the pockets of my oshkosh overalls.  When sitting in the office of a bank applying for a loan and the loan officer is inquiring of all my late payments from my credit report, I could just as easily be looking apologetically into my mom’s eyes as she berates me for spending all my vacation money on one stuffed bear.  It is a hard feeling to shake but as I said, I am 44 now and I can no longer blame my parents for my actions.  Even with all my fears of failure, I have to realize that I have been successfully self-employed for fourteen years.  I have my own house, car, studio.  All without the assistance of my parents.  My relationship with my partner is stronger than ever in its twentieth year and we are raising a beautiful boy together. 

This has been a year of great shifting for me.  Struggling with an illness since April has forced me to let go of my painting business.  It is physically too demanding.  As hard as this has been for our family, emotionally and financially, it has a silver lining.  Being a house painter was never my intention.  It was a career that evolved from demand and need and I was growing restless and increasingly unfulfilled.  But now, the possibility is within my grasp to take full control of my dreams and realize my potential for success as an artist.  I am ready to shed my insecurities and put myself out there.

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