Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ho Paura

For the past 6 years all I have ever wanted was an art studio of my own, in fact, for as long as I can remember, all I have ever wanted was an art studio. And now the time has finally come. It's almost here. I am currently in the process of choosing a paint color for the walls and all of a sudden I'm terrified. Scared to death, paralyzed in fact. I should be excited, I should be bouncing off of those soon to be painted walls and planning the decor. Instead, I'm filled with anxiety and what almost feels like depression, I've even been a bit snappy with the hubby lately and mind you he's the one doing all the work! (God bless him). 

All of the creativity and passion that once seemed so natural and flowing to me is gone. I can't think of one new thing that I want to make when I finally get that table set up and my paints and clay organized. Nothing. Nulla. Niente.

Could it be that this is not what I really want?....

…Of course it is but as it turns out, I'm scared. What if I'm terrible at it? What if no one likes my work? What if no one understands me? Then what? What will I do? What if I am attacked by angry, jealous vultures, or eaten by cannibals? 

I don’t believe in coincidence. In fact I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, no matter how big or how small.

Yesterday afternoon I sat down at my still - safe - inside my apartment - behind closed doors – worktable for the first time this year. I was trying desperately to force myself to create something new and exciting. Trying to understand why I wasn’t feeling inspired these days, thinking that it must be this weather, it’s cold and grey and I haven’t gotten out much lately. I didn’t feel like listening to music, which is strange because I always listen to music when I work, so decided to turn on TED talks instead. I listened to a few that I had bookmarked and then I began to scroll through and search for others and that’s when I came across one titled ‘What fear can teach us’, and as I sat there kneading some clay with my fingers, not knowing what to do with it, somehow I was not relating to it. I just simply sat there listening the story and chuckling to myself at its irony, again never thinking for one minute that it had anything to do with me.

I mean, I’ve never been afraid of anything in my life. Well, not really afraid anyway. Why would I be now? I packed up everything I owned in two suitcases and moved to a foreign country by myself, what could I possibly be afraid of? At least that's what I tried to tell myself anyway. 

I went about my evening and eventually shaped the clay into a few simple pieces, nothing exciting or new and then went and made some dinner.

And then this morning when checked my facebook newsfeed I saw this great post from Artists not Armies. It was as if they were talking right to me. 

And that is when I finally realized what this is all about. I’m afraid. And that’s okay. What’s important is what I do with that fear.

Right now I cannot say what I will do. Fear is a strange emotion. As Karen Thompson Walker says we generally think of it as negative or hurtful, but I am now beginning to understand that it can disguise itself in many ways without us ever realizing that it's there.

I don’t really know how else to end this other than to say that I feel a sudden lightness, as if a weight as been lifted off my shoulders. Not because I am no longer afraid, but simply because I am finally able to identify this plaguing emotion. I can now see why I have been trying to distract myself and focus on things other then my own work.  And hopefully by identifying it I will also be able to let it go. I will instead sail for the nearest island and face the cannibals. 

What are your greatest fears? Tell me in the comments below. 


  1. Great post Sara! And congratulations on making your dreams come true! Of course it's a bit scary :-) That's how it's supposed to be. I can't wait to see your studio!
    Un abbraccio

  2. Thank you Birgitte! You're absolutely right, that is how it is supposed to be. Sometimes I forget that and think I always have to be excited and strong and never admit my fears but this has been a good reminder that fear is just as acceptable as any other felling! I will definitely be letting you know when it's ready so you can come have a visit! Yippy!

  3. Hi Sara, thank you so much for your post. I feel exactly the same way. I jumped into a new career now at 50 years old, and sometimes I wake up felling panic, what have I done, am I crazy, putting my family in financial unsureity, will anyone like my jewelry....the questions are endless in my mind.
    My sister reminded me last night,exactly what you wrote, "Laura, you moved to a new country at 26, learned Swedish, opened a company you've had for 21 years and now you're opening a new. The fear is there, and real and huge, but I said, oh yea, I CAN do this. And its the same for you, look how far you've come, look at all you've done, moved to a new country, learned the language, started courses, been in shows, make wonderful jewelry, of course you can do this! Thats what I love about America, even though I have lived away for 25 years, we learn to go for our dreams and that we can do anything. Lets go for it!

    1. Thank you Laura for your kind and encouraging comments! I guess its true that these fears are part of our creative imaginations! We really have come so far and yet still have so far to go. Its frightening and exciting all at the same time, but I think this is how its supposed to be. "If Your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough' Good luck to you, you are incredibly talented and incredibly humble! Thanks for being such a great person, your passion will carry you through!

  4. So inspiring !
    I am an European girl who had lived in the States for the last 22 years .
    I visited Firenze for the first time last fall with my fiancee ( who is an American ) and since than we keep dreaming about moving to Italy .
    I FEAR that I lost my mind !!!!!
    All my teenagers years ( growing in a former communist country ), my wish was to come to the land of opportunities , America.
    Now , at fifty ....I ''see '' myself and my loved one enjoying an expresso and having a gelato in Firenze . I came back with an amazing portfolio of photos of walls , doors, hinges ....that I paint every day ....
    Sara, I wish you good luck with the new studio !!!! As you said before , accept that the fear is normal , embrace it and let it go after ......is only a process !!!! I love your jewelry and I am looking forward to see more !!!!

    Light and love,

  5. Thank you for your comment Delona! Florence is definitely a beautiful and inspiring place to live! The next time you come please stop by and say hello. I would love to see your paintings as well. Do you have an online portfolio that you would like to share? Please feel free to post the link if you do.

    I am starting to turn the fear into excitement now. Seeing the space almost ready gives me a new found energy and I cannot wait to begin creating again.

    Thank you for your encouragement! A presto!


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