It's easier to recognize beauty than it is to create it. You're good enough to know that what you're doing isn't good, but not good enough to produce something great. When you find yourself in this frustrating limbo, the challenge is to never forget what got you there in the first place. Remember that thing that got you into the game.
Your love. Your passion. Your taste. That's the reason you're here. You still belong, even if you don't feel like it right now. Your taste can be killer even if your ability is questionable.
Commit to the process and you'll become good enough, soon enough. Put in a volume of work. Close the gap.
Stop worrying about your identity and concern yourself with the people you care about, ideas that matter to you, beliefs you can stand by, tickets you can run on. Intelligent humans make those choices with their brain and hearts and they make them alone. The world does not deliver meaning to you. You have to make it meaningful…and decide what you want and need and must do. It’s a tough, unimaginably lonely and complicated way to be in the world. But that’s the deal: you have to live; you can’t live by slogans, dead ideas, clichés, or national flags. Finding an identity is easy. It’s the easy way out.
Zadie Smith, On Beauty
I will never shy away from overextending myself or being open to the organic process of love flowering between people. I have seen so many people make shipwrecks of themselves because of insecurity. I have seen who I become in my insecurity and it's an exhausting experience. So many people meet now at this juncture of being used to being unloved and used to living on and within their insecurities almost like a survival instinct. I want new survival instincts for all of us, based on security, vulnerability without fear or emotional retaliation.
| Mykki Blanco
I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories from your life... water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom. That is the work. The only work.
When you build a thing you cannot merely build that thing in isolation, but must also repair the world around it, and within it, so that the larger world at that one place becomes more coherent, and more whole; and the thing which you make takes its place in the web of nature, as you make it.
Have you ever tried to look at yourself in the mirror as not beautiful, ugly, adult, child, feminine, or masculine but simply as a human? I think I’ve done this successfully only once and I imagine it’s the closest thing to gender euphoria that I can feel as a cisgender person. It’s understandable to instantly begin to evaluate, to zone in on things you feel are inadequate or could be better, and it’s not even that I didn’t notice my face or body but for a moment I perceived them through a lens of being enough simply by existing, and having dignity in full capacity.
This was maybe three, four years ago and I know for sure I did this right after seeing a video about girls who skate. I keep trying to find it on i-D but my memory of the video is so blurry I don’t think I could recognize the video even if I saw it. From that glimpse into the skating community it seemed like nothing really mattered to them besides skating and building each other up, and that felt really radical.
It helps to mentally place yourself in a context that isn’t desire-driven, that isn't fixated on the appearance of the shell of our being. (I remember what I’ve learned about the indigenous peoples who lived on this land before us—they understood that we are one with the earth). A context where your body is an inherently joyous thing that is most valued when you are happy and at peace, where value is placed on your capacity for wonder and inquiry, for love and problem-solving. Where an insistence upon your dignity is unnecessary.
Instead of trying to search for your dignity and worth, recognize that that dignity already exists, and it is the internal lenses of unworthiness you must work to dismantle and let go of in order to reach it.
does a gardener only water their flowers after they've bloomed? does a farmer only tend to their crops once they've shown fruit?
so why do you believe you should only write once you've got something to say? why do you only draw once you've got an idea?
if you really want to grow your craft, tend to it faithfully, and not just when you've got the inspiration or motivation to do so.
just as a flower only grows after it's been watered, the words you want to say will arrive after you start writing, the idea will arrive after you start drawing—inspiration will arrive after you start working.