I want to be like street artists. Not because I'm good at art — I'm actually terrible. No no, it's more about the confidence it involves.
I went on a street art tour in London and the guide threw out this wisdom, "You decide your art is good enough for the wall. You don't go up to a teacher or counselor and ask, 'Um, do you think this is good enough? Maybe could I put it on the wall?' No! You design something and you do it." Street artists design, grab all the courage they can muster and decide their work is good enough. Once it's done people either pause and take notice or they don't. Sometimes new art is inspired and others are drawn to add something beautiful to the work — something that the original artist could have never imagined.
I'm a bit jealous of the bravery these artists possess. I'm jealous because I have a hard time declaring things about myself or my work. If you're anything like me it's so much easier to see other people's gifts and talents as good enough to be shared, while your own remain buried in a corner. But that's not humility, it's cowardice. Declaring that something you've done is good enough to be seen requires bravery and risk. It requires a level of vulnerability and a willingness to interact in a space where you might not feel completely comfortable. Mostly it requires you to let go of comparison.
When people ask if I'm a photographer I usually shake my head and say, "Oh I just like taking photos." Why? Because there's a little voice in my head that tells me I'll be opened up to all kinds of scrutiny if I decide to call myself a photographer. But you know what, who cares? It doesn't actually matter what other people think. You and I, we can declare ourselves to be anything we want without trepidation because the truth is that there's always going to be someone out there who is better than us. Okay maybe you didn't think that's where that sentence was headed. But honestly, it's freeing to know that there's always someone out there who is a little (or usually a lot) better at something than me. I'm not the best, which means that I can keep learning and growing. If everyone waited until they were the best at something to share it, we'd all just keep waiting forever. And that'd be a shame because new art spurns from the art that someone else was confident enough to present.
Is there a passion or gift you're holding back from sharing with the world? What's holding you back?