Jeanne Oliver Teacher | Artist

Walking Decisions Out and Overcoming Fear | Part Two

You can read part one HERE.

We had decided by that first night to take the gift of our new home, land, and studio and see if we could make a go at it without a net. We made this decision in early May and there was no net as of August 1, 2017.

As the days of no net quickly approached I could feel the stress, anxiety, and pressure slowly creeping towards me. It wasn’t full and overpowering but it was coming. That decision we had made in May I was now questioning, doubting and wondering with the weight on my shoulders of potential failure. Fear is cruel and as an artist I envision things in living, moving color so each fear is played out as an academy awarding winning movie. Fear was playing into my greatest weaknesses of anxiety and worry.

Another very real part of the journey was me not knowing how to ask for help or even what help to ask others for. The ideas, creativity etc. had to come from me and I felt alone. This was mental and self-imposed I understand but still felt very real to me. This journey was very much about me learning once again how to walk through hard things and that I had permission to fail and it would be OK no matter the outcome.

Permission to fail. Are we even taught this? Do we even know how to do this? I have had to tell myself this again and again and I believe one of the greatest ways this became truth and freedom to me was through teaching and making art.

Each time I put a new collection out into the world there was a chance for people not to connect with it. Each time I created a piece of art there was a very real possibility that it may be just for me. When I created my first online course (that had the most outstanding support, encouragement, and love before it started ) and I was trying to sleep the night before it went live… it hit me (For the first time. How hilarious is that?) what if it isn’t good? What if people don’t love it and it is a failure? When I taught live for the first time I remember the tears and fear leading up to the event that I would not be able to make good art in front of people and what if people thought I was a fake.

So, guess what happens when you keep on putting yourself in the face of fear? You either run away, freeze or you stare it down. I stared it down again and again. I had tears, anxiety, worry,  fear etc. and all of the things that go along with it but I kept showing up. So, I have made bad art in front of a class and I have shown them that I can start over or that every piece of art has an ugly stage and we can get past it and sometimes just throw it in the trash.  I have struggled through pieces even in an online course. I have taught live with a migraine and a foggy head. I have been a part of misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

Walking your fear out in front of people is uncomfortable for sure but not only does is build your heart up but it shows others that they can stare it down too. It just makes us all human and vulnerable. It makes us real. I guess it is a bit like the line from Velvetine Rabbit, ” ‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

This past year has been hard and we have had personal, professional and family hurts and pain and brokenness just like everyone else. BUT we so desperately want to be real. To you, to our faith, to our family and friends. If you look at our success without knowing that we are also broken then you might think it has been easy but it has not. It has been real too. Hard, beautiful, joyful, full of pain, humbling, revealing, exciting, full of worry and anxiety and full of family and growth. I always tease the kids that teamwork makes the dream work. And it really does.

I have put myself in failing positions more in the past 11 years than at any time in my life and the failure would have been on display. If I hadn’t put myself in positions where I could fall flat on my face then there wouldn’t be all of the good that has come. None of it.

Part three coming soon.

Share this Post

Comments

  1. Sheila Earhart

    Just as with Holy Communion;
    “We are chosen, we are blessed, we are broken, and we are given.”
    Henri Nouwen

  2. Linda Reid

    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us. You are wonderful and I appreciate how honest and forthcoming you are. 💕

  3. Melanie Dorsey

    Thank you for sharing your vulnerabilities. You are a great inspiration!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.