Static Friction

From Inside, acrylic, ink, oilstick, and colored pencil on paper, 18″ x 24″

Lately, my whole body feels like a live wire. My blood feels carbonated and my skin feels tight. There’s a yell growing somewhere between my lungs and my throat.

Let me confide– I’m losing it over here. I have spent hours and hours of the last few weeks painting and writing and sketching, trying to out some of the tension and urgency from my body, my mind– wherever that frenetic frenzy resides­– but to little avail. And yesterday, I was struck by this notion: I am never going to get rid of this feeling.

Gah! Perish the thought!

Untangling Slowly, ink on paper, 18″ x 24″

But wait a minute. Let me examine this for just a second. What have I ever accomplished when I have felt just plain peachy? Nothing, because I have never felt that way. The times in my life when I have felt strong and resilient are the times when I have taken on this panic in its fullest expression and channeled all of my fears and neurosis into accomplishing the things that terrify me.

I’ll admit that it is waaay more convenient to turn on angsty rock from my teen years, dance the night away in my pjs, and go to sleep convinced that I feel better. But let’s face it; what really allays my demons from tormenting me is doing the boring, horrifying, self-exposing things that they use to taunt me. Things like rewriting my resume, teaching myself the technology I need to run my own art career, contacting artists and gallerists that I know, and dragging myself out into the world to talk to people in museums and galleries and coffee shops and grocery stores about who I am and what I am doing; to find out who they are; to discover what we can interchange and create.

Static Friction, ink and colored pencil on paper, 8″ x 5″

When I take my life out into the world, I become so occupied with confronting my fears that I productively expend the energy I would otherwise use to fret and berate myself over how terrifying everything is. The unfortunate part of this handy equation is that it’s a bit like static friction; I have to reach a certain level of frantic before I become frantic enough to move. And, bummer wisdom, no amount of understanding about how my brain works can sub in for the gritty business of actually gearing up and doing the hard stuff once I’ve reached that point.

But hey, I can feel it…it’s a comin’.