Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

The Monster Hall of Fame

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.
Art is knowing which ones to keep.
— Scott Adams

Today, we have some more exercises that will help us work towards reassuring our Artist Selves that it is safe now for them to come out to play. First, if you haven’t already, go back over your twenty reasons why you can’t be a successful, prolific, creative artist. See if you can re-write each one of them into an affirmation.

Some of you have already started this process. Perhaps you might try several angles on some of the most disturbing ones. For example, you can obviously change “My art will never make money,” to “My art can make money.” But you might also add something like, “Making money is not the only way to measure the value of my art.”

Second, as was discussed yesterday, while you re-write your fears into affirmations, you are almost certainly going to stir up your Inner Critic. Despite the cutting, hurtful, snide comments, he or she will have some very valuable information for you. Notice whose voice you are hearing when s/he lashes out at you. Do you recognize or remember who planted the seeds of these cynical, bitter doubts? Maybe it was a pessimistic parent; maybe it was a nasty teacher with blocks of their own. Maybe it comes from a hybrid of many such unhappy influences.

As you search for the source, Julia urges us to time travel. “List three old enemies of your creative self-worth. Please be as specific as possible in doing this exercise. Your historic monsters are the building blocks of your core negative beliefs. (Yes, rotten Sister Ann Rita from fifth grade does count and the rotten thing she said to you does matter. Put her in.)

“This is your monster hall of fame. More monsters will come to you as you work through your recovery. It is always necessary to acknowledge creative injuries and grieve them. Otherwise they become creative scar tissue and block your growth.”

So spend some time today, considering who might have been behind the wounds that have now settled in as ongoing fears and assumptions of failure. In some cases, you might have trouble pinning them down; but as you work with your core beliefs, especially re-writing them into affirmations, you are sure to get a few clues.

On the other hand, in some cases you might vividly recall a painful, pivotal event, when your tender artist baby dreams were dashed before your eyes. Tomorrow, we’ll work with that, for as unhappy as it was, it has also carved out depths into which your healing can take root.

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  • March 11, 2009, 8:26 am Darla

    In my case, the Monsters can also be Monsters of Omission. Not that anyone said something negative but that nothing *good* was said or there was no encouragement, or, alternatively, someone else, in our perception, always received the praise and we were invisible. So there can be Invisible Monsters and Monsters of Omission… just another way of viewing the ‘monsters’…

  • March 11, 2009, 10:31 am meggins

    Good point, Darla. My husband doesn’t especially criticize my efforts, and he certainly doesn’t begrudge me the time to pursue my interests, but he isn’t much interested in what I do or any success I might have.

    But that sounds like a dragon to slay tomorrow. Off now to make affirmations. I’ve tangled with my Internal (Infernal) Critic over them before, and I think I’ve gotten better at them, but we’ll see what happens today.

  • March 11, 2009, 10:32 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    So true.. but is there someone who, in your inner dialogues, is The Voice of ridicule? That never lets you forget the times you were ignored, and play by play reminds you of every painful detail? Is it possible that this analysis is distorted? And maybe not really you underneath it all?

    Maybe the other person who got all the praise?

    – Beth

  • March 11, 2009, 5:54 pm Thalia

    I am assuming it is okay to share? (Look at that, my inner critic right there, saying, How egotistical! Stop hogging the spotlight! Well, Mr. Critic, eff off.)

    Okay, then, here are my twenty, transformed into affirmations:

    1. I have no ambition. I do not need ambition; I am creative and that is enough. I am ambitious in my own way. I have the ambition to learn, to create, to succeed in my own way and by my own definition. And I am entitled to define ambition as I like.

    2. I have no money. I have enough money; I have always survived. There is enough. (This more of a reality check; it is simply the truth of past experience.) I’m not sure I’m beyond that yet; this has ever been a major issue for me. But, baby steps.

    3. I am too tired. I have plenty of energy; I burn slow and steady. I am allowed to decide what level of energy is appropriate for me.

    4. I am too afraid. Being afraid hasn’t stopped me yet! I have always just done it anyway. I am actually very, very brave.

    5. I am not safe. All is well. I am safe now.

    6. I am a girl. I sure am! I am a woman, and Goddess, and I can do anything I damned well please.

    7. I have no support. I have friends who adore me; I have the support of an online community. I mean, what is this, this blog?

    8. I am crazy, &c. Society is insane; being sane within that may look like craziness, but it is not. I am strong and sure of myself.

    9. I am unwilling to advertise. I do not have to advertise; people who like my work have and will find it, and show their support (both financial and otherwise). My unwillingness to advertise is actually my willingness to treat the process of art, my own self, and the Deity that comes through both of those with deep respect.

    10. I don’t do commissions. I don’t have to do commissions. It comes when it comes. I honor my inspiration.

    11. I am too distracted. I am interested in many, many things. I am a wonderful and curious creature.

    12. I try to do too many things at once. I love to have many irons in the fire.

    13. Ordinary things get in the way. I take care of myself in all ways.

    14. I never get anything done. I get a huge amount of things done.

    15. My art is ‘mere illustration.’ (Phrase taken verbatim from some idiot teacher or other I had at RISD.) My art is my art. I am the only one in the world who can make it. It is Art, and it is Mine.

    16. I have no focus. I see the big picture.

    17. I am helplessly stuck. I am moving slowly but thoroughly. I have help, both within and without. I can help myself. I am a Witch.

    18. I have no power. Again, I am a Witch. ‘Nuff said.

    19. You have to be dead, yada yada. I deserve to be supported financially through doing what I love. This is my right livelihood. I am supporting myself financially through my art. Already. I deserve to live and thrive.

    20. I don’t like myself enough. I treat myself with care and compassion; I give myself what makes me happy. I love myself and will do what it takes to honor my needs, desires, and dreams. They are who I am.

  • March 11, 2009, 6:08 pm Thalia

    Three old enemies, let’s see.

    1. The aforementioned best friend’s mother. Specifically the ‘no ambition’ comment, but a lot of other implied attitudinal crap she directed at me over the years.

    2. My first grade art teacher, Mrs. Sylvia. She came in one of the first days and said, “Raise your hand if you’re an artist.” Even in first grade, I knew, so I raised my hand. She said, pretty scathingly, “None of you are artists. You are too young.” I remember thinking privately at the time that she was full of it, though I didn’t say anything, of course, and though of course it still affected me. Now I can’t even imagine why someone would say that? I mean, it’s just pure meanness to say that to a child.

    3. Al DeCredico. Oh, ho, that man. He was the one who in freshman foundation 2D class told the story of walking into the Sistine Chapel, looking up, and then saying in disappointment, “Oh, it’s just illustration.” What an ass. And what’s the biggest major at RISD? Gosh, Illustration.

    Arrggh. I guess that these recollections fill me with anger instead of fear is a good sign, at least from my own point of view. Years ago it would have just been fear.

  • March 12, 2009, 6:08 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    7. I have no support. I have friends who adore me; I have the support of an online community. I mean, what is this, this blog?

    YES! This blog is support!

    Thalia! Mrs. Sylvia is a jaw-dropping horror! To do that to a bunch of eager first graders is CRIMINAL!

    And I have to laugh out loud! If, in No. 15, your art is “mere illustration” and the Sistine Chapel is “mere illustration,” well, I think you’re in pretty damn fine company! Mere illustration is not a bit mere, it would seem!

    Thank you SO much for sharing!!!!
    Anyone else? Don’t be shy! We’re here for each other!
    – Beth

  • March 12, 2009, 7:42 am Liz

    My Monster Hall of Fame
    Been thinking about this for a while, even before it came up on your blog.
    1. My maternal grandmother, Rosa Bosco, can’t count how many times as a child she said to me “You stupid little thing, you”.
    2. Danny Trombino, five long years of him “You have some sense of proportion, but no real talent”
    3. Me, because I bought into it..
    Doesn’t make me angry, just sad. Thank you for your blog, and the support.

  • March 12, 2009, 8:18 am Anonymous

    I am so glad i found you.
    My english is not fluent, I am Danish and live i Sweden, so have mercy.
    This is so rigth! You are so right. and as i write this, so am I.

    My list of affirmations

    1) Your only worth is what I put in you.
    My father, which is a sociopath and molested me as a child.
    I have enourmous worth, I am a being of the Goddess, i am LOVE and CREATIVITY united.

    2) You can´t be that intelligent.
    I am very intelligent.
    Despite what my fourth grade teatcher commented whem I (every day) brought new books from the library to read at home.

    3) You have no voice.
    My mother, witch is living the devise “endure and be quiet”
    I have a strong voice, I can speak and sing and be heard with love and respect.

    4) You are only an object of male desire. My first boyfriend, who raped me the first time.
    I am a proud mother of 3 children, gifts of love, and I am the owner of my own flesh and blod.

    5) You only get care and love when you are sick. My mother, who only gave me love when I was sick (and guess how often I was/tried to be sick)
    I am strong of body, secure in my fysical state and witout sickness.

    6) I have no target for my energy.
    Almost all of my teatchers.
    I have at true and wonderfull goal for my lifejourney, to work with the healing and restauration of mother earth and peoples relation to nature.

    7) I do not love my self and have not deserved to be happy.
    Very few did love the true me when I was a child.
    I Love and honour myself, I am loved and truly happy.

    8) I give myself away for free.
    Because I was worthless as a child (see nr 1)
    I value myself and my work. I deserve to be payed a good salary and get back what I give out.

    9) I fear myself, because I am insane.
    My father again.
    I do not fear anything, least myself. I am my own saviour.

    10) Very bad things are going to happen.
    (my inner child speaking again)
    All things that happen i can cope with, i truly believe i love and godd things in the human nature.

    Love from Christina

  • March 12, 2009, 9:07 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    Christina! Just LOOK at how powerful you are already becoming from writing these things! May you be richly, deeply blessed! I am so glad you are here!

    And Liz! Yes, yes, yes! Have a good time with the exercises for today!

    I am so awed by all of you! Thank you!
    — Beth

  • March 12, 2009, 10:10 am Angela Raincatcher

    My biggest monster would be my father. He was a musician with a beautiful baritone voice. When he decided to teach me piano, he would hover in the living room whenever I was practicing. If I messed up (which is natural when you are learning), he would call out “No!” or “Do it again!” or he would march over and show me how to do it again.

    Now, when I am learning something or doing a first draft or rough sketch, I hear “NO! That’s not right/good enough.”

    I’m still sensitive to teacher not letting me do something wrong or stepping in to show me how it’s done without my asking them.