September 17th, 2003
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Critic Unleashed

I knew I shouldn’t have done it. I tell other people not to do it. I was aware of what I was doing the whole time and yet I was like an obsessed junkie seeking out the thing that causes me pain. …I started out yesterday by looking at other people’s work and feeling badly about my own.
It doesn’t happen all the time, but when your own inner critic takes over it can become so paralyzing. I would like to pretend that it doesn’t happen with me anymore, (I’ve gone beyond that stage), but it does. The result is that I am left feeling like I have to do more, I have to make my work better, if only I was doing “that”. I get so completely overwhelmed that I am unable to start anything. I end up starting several things, getting easily frustrated, and then feeling like crap about everything. So I ended up spending the rest of the day walking around in a kind of stupor, and feeling like maybe I should try another profession cause this one might not be working for me. Ever get like that? Yeah I know you do because I get email almost every day from people sharing their stories with me.
Some of this stuff is coming up because I have a rather large show coming up that I am still working on. I still have several pieces to do and I’m at that point where you have to push through to get to the good stuff. I feel more comfortable just avoiding it altogether at the moment.
So it’s time to follow my own advice, what was it that I wrote again? Oh yeah, go for a walk. Take the pressure off to perform. You are not a showgirl or a trapeze artist. You are just a human being and your only goal is to exist and create some things along the way. Enjoy the process. Do the things that give you the most joy (yes, it’s a cliche but it works for me). Take your journal down to the pond and doodle. Go for coffee. Hang out at the library. Make a pot of soup. Take some time to fill yourself up again. You need some quality time for yourself. Whatever it is you do, do it alone. Take some deep breaths.
I’m taking the afternoon off. I feel better already just thinking about it. So many possiblities.

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