I’m truly horrible at learning other languages. Unless I’m learning to swear. I seem to have a flair for swearing in foreign languages. My mom speaks Spanish fluently. My incompetence at grasping the grammar, much less the language and swearing, frustrated her to no end. She teases me to this day after I proudly said to her, “I wash myself myself!” although in Spanish.
Screw grammar because now I frustrate myself myself. I don’t need to say it in any other language because self-sabotage is universal. My Chinese students knew exactly when I was frustrated just by my tone. “Grrrr” or “arrrggghh” are very universal. So is throwing up your hands, rolling your eyes and breaking pencils. I never broke a pencil in front of student but there are plenty of broken pencils in my room.
Toni Morrison wrote, “If you wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” I drag around a lot of Scheiße, merda, गंदगी, and 狗屎. Because when I’m not comfortable with something I pull out my Poopy Pouch and start shoveling in every insecurity, doubt, and bad thing ever said to me. For awhile there I was doing better about how much 狗屎 I was carrying around. Then I was down to just carrying the bag, just in case. Then I was bag free and enjoying my freedom of believing in myself.
Since I started art school I picked up my Poopy Pouches and stuff them full of all kinds of merda. To the point of overflowing! I don’t compare my work to my classmates but I have unreasonably high expectations for myself in subjects I’m not strong. Instead of celebrating the little successes when I finally connect the idea and hand to create, I look at all that I’ve done wrong and question everything I’m doing.
Today I said, “Why am I in art school? Really, why am I doing this?” I look at my drawing of Lucian’s Whippet and all I can see is a malformed whippet embryo and wonder what the hell does this have to do with photography?
This is something I ask myself Every. Single. Quarter. This is usually when I start breaking art supplies. This quarter I have noticed that my work is stronger than my first quarter in drawing. But I still judge myself against the masters. When I took piano lessons I was furious with myself that I could not get the simple exercises quickly so I could move on to Mozart.
The added stress is that I must make a B or higher in all my classes to keep my scholarship and grant. It’s a nice bit of money every semester that helps to cut down on the exorbitant cost of SCAD tuition. So I stress myself out, drag around that stinky Poopy Pouch, and freak out every semester. So this is my one freak out pass. It usually happens between Unit 4 and Unit 6. I hope I won’t have any more of them. My Poopy Pouch is a bit full at the moment. Maybe I should just go throw it away.
For your amusement I’ve added this lovely self portrait. I call it Wendi Wearing Mask. It did not help keep the charcoal out of my lungs because I could not wear it very long. All it managed to do was help me breathe in the air I had just breathed out and feel like I was trying to draw outside in the 100% humidity we’ve been having.