Sunday, October 25, 2009

Art Blog: Gambler / That RISK

I have mentioned often how I love getting older. I really do. I feel far more secure and understand my world far more clearly than decades ago. I have said many times how I would not want to be 20 or 30 years old again. However, I realized this week how there are advantages to being young. Besides the obvious attributes like youth and vitality, I remember when I would take risks without a second thought. Now, I hesitate, deliberate, postpone, and haggle with myself when I contemplate any kind of action or behavior that is remotely risky. Why?

I was working on my website this week after scanning some slides of past work. I wanted this old work to be on my website, so I can see the progression of my art life. After finishing a page showing “Gambler / That Risk”, I just sat there and stared at that piece like I had never seen it before. I remember my life when I created this work. I was poor as dirt. I had a preschool daughter. We rented a ghetto, studio apartment. We lived hand to mouth. I thought nothing of quitting one job and trying to find another. Yep. I was footloose and fancy free. I even had the NERVE to apply and attend a month long residency in Vermont. I shipped the kid over to her paternal grandmother and got on a plane with only nickels in my pocket. What was I thinking? Ironically, that was probably one of the best months of my life. At that time, I didn’t even see it as a risk.

Fast forward to now: I don’t think I would ever do anything like that now. I am paralyzed with fear. I would worry about this and that and everything else. My house? My job? Money? What if? What if? What if? This part of getting older is very boring and frustrating.

Now, I feel I have too much to lose.

Chapter 5 of the “The Joy Diet” by Martha Beck challenges readers with exercises to promote risk taking. I NEED to do this work in the worst way. However, I am so filled with anxiety right now, it is difficult for me to think clearly, let alone tackle new and foreign ground. To be honest, I am having such a hard time dealing with the status quo, I feel like if I twitch wrong, I am going to implode! As I read the chapter, I became more anxious with each paragraph. My internal mind tape is blasting my brain. Right now, negative self talk is on full volume constantly. I have been in this mental state before but never to this magnitude.

This current inner turmoil, angst, and adverse reaction to the “Risk” chapter are all related. My emotional psyche is screaming at me right now because this is exactly what I need to do. It is time to let go of this mantra of fear “What if?” and embrace a new anthem:
“What if I don’t?”


“Gambler / That Risk”
Sheree Rensel
Mixed Media
48” x 20” x 24”
Click pic for detailed view

9 comments:

gilda said...

Sheree, I am feeling the same kind of fear. It is at home and at the studio. In the studio, I have stopped using certain power tools because, since I work there alone, I keep wondering what would happen if I injured myself. Could I run to the diner across the street in time if I sliced an artery or cut off my finger? When I was building all of those large constructions in the '80s this was never a consideration! Cut, drill, away!
But I too revel in my age, and the fact that I am still working and plan to keep on. I use the example of Charles McGee, who is exactly 30 years older than me,who has the energy, the drive, and the enthusiasm, still. He is my mentor in this. As I observe him, I see that PACING is the way to go. I am doing some really good paintings now, that are a result of my pacing myself differently. And look at you! I see your drive and enthusiasm as being part and parcel of who you are at this moment. And you are wise enough to acknowledge this, and also SHARE the journey. Thank you so much!

Sheree Rensel said...

Gilda,
I know exactly what you mean. I have a loft in my studio and I grab the ladder for dear life because my MIND tells me I might fall. LOL LOL It is a symptom of being TOO WISE as we age.
I KNOW for sure, I am doing very well in many areas. You know I tend to be a "drama queen" at times. When I write these posts, even I read them and realize things are really as bad as I make them look. Also, I need to use words to express my discomfort in order to give me the PUSH I need to do more NEW and DIFFERENT things.
I am so glad you are doing great work right now. When I finished my last piece "ALIVE". I just sat there and smiled at it. LOL Doesn't it feel wonderful!!!
BTW LOVING your YouTube vids!! :-)

Sheree Rensel said...

P.S. GILDA!!! I laughed when I watched your YT vid about the encaustic show. When you said you didn't want to use a torch because of a fear of flames, I LAUGHED OUT LOUD!!! Shoot! I won't have any gas appliances in my house because I am afraid of tiny pilot lights!!! LOL LOL

Art Visions said...

"I would worry about this and that and everything else. My house? My job? Money? What if? What if? What if? This part of getting older is very boring and frustrating." Yeah, I hear you. But in the end, the only question that burns more is "what if I don't?"

gilda said...

Thanks too for the YT comments....this is what I strive for in a video, but at openings its impossible! But I rarely have a chance to go back to a show to do what REALLY want to do.....and the Brewery shows are only one night! I am trying to NOT TALK SO MUCH during all of them; when i play them back I think I sound like a Dork!

Sheree Rensel said...

Art Visions,
Exactly. That was my point. That is why I wrote that.
Thanks for reading!
:-)

Lisa @sacred circle said...

hank you for being so honest and courageous with your words. Oh yes, the what if's can be downright annoying and debilitating, can't they? It's wonderful that you're beginning to reframe that question.... rather than what if the world ends, or what if I get hurt, or what if I don't succeed.... what if the world keeps chugging along and I am stronger? What if I discover that I'm flourishing? What if I succeed?? :)

Ellecubed said...

Thank you so much for sharing your week with risk. I too find that sometimes I am paralyzed with anxiety when I try to take on risks. Have you ever tried something along the lines of mindful meditation? I have found it to be super helpful for being able to sit with the fear and anxiety of risk taking and work through it. Maybe it will work for you too.

Elizabeth said...

Sheree,
I hear you, but I also say to myself as I read this, that risks aren't always good just for the sake of risk. If taking the risk proves to you that you are free, and that you can survive, as you did as a younger single parent, then maybe it's worth it.
But for me, I am not willing to risk my work-space (hard won) or my independence. But living in a box of fear...not so good. Just thoughts.
Best to you sister artist.
E