The Self-Deprecating Voice

It was hard for me to get out of bed today. Not for any physical reason. Some years ago, I may have resisted putting my feet to the carpet operating with the belief that there simply was no point, that I had nothing to work on or contribute to this world, “I don’t have anything to give today, so why try?” I don’t feel this way anymore, and now my reluctance to rise from the mattress comes from a feeling of having too much to do, and not enough time to do it. As I have implied, this is a relatively new sensation for me.

I am called by something within me to create, but so often I find myself staring at a shade all too familiar: the great white of blankness. I keep pushing, because as it stands now my creative expression is all that I am being held accountable for. That, and reading a few books here and there, as recommended to me by those who advise my projects.

It was hard for me to get out of bed today because when I woke up, I was instantly reminded of that which must be done in order to move forward through the trajectory of my life. I am often contemplating this trajectory, perhaps a distraction and perpetuator of the blank page. My hesitation to express comes from the profound nature of my self-criticism. Two voices speak inside of my brain:

“It’s time to work. Fingers on the keys or wrap them around the ink stick.”

“Why bother? Your expressions do not affect. Besides you’re a terrible writer, terrible in all your affairs. Why bother?”

“Irrational. I’m an artist, a writer and a performer. I do these things not because I am good at them, but because my livelihood depends on my ability to express and to produce creative works.”

“Your dreams of being successful in your artistic endeavors are worthless, and your efforts to fulfill them are futile. Are you so egotistical as to think that even one person gives half a shit about the work that you do. Artist? Please, you are a filthy whore for attention, without the prospect of having an audience, you would willingly be gone from this earth.”

“I just received a project grant for six hundred dollars because there is someone, a group of people even, who believe that the work I do has some merit and deserves tangible support. Receiving funds and/or resources for that which you, the Self-Deprecating Voice, have called worthless serves as an evident contradiction to your statement. If I am alive today because of the work I do, because I have opportunities to share my expression with others, is that not enough worth all on its own?”

“You will never be successful as an artist. One day you will wake up and realize that your electricity is out, the pantry is empty, and all you have for currency is a mound of scribbles, chicken scratches that lead to nowhere. Your life is, and will be, a series of unfulfilled ellipses should you choose this path.”

“Success will come to me if I am open to it. If I leave myself vulnerable to the infinite opportunities I have being a citizen of the first world, I will be fulfilled. I will have the pleasure of being able to do what I love and know that others enjoy my work because they have supported my process. O Self-Deprecating Voice, you shall speak no further.”