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  • Writer's pictureDr. S

What the heck was I thinking?

Returning from the Red Dot Spectrum art event has been a transition to get back into normal daily routines. I, of course, keep thinking about my own mindset while there. I self analyze often, so it is no surprise that I continue to self analyze the anxiety I felt while there.

I knew going into this event that a potential 50,000 people would be viewing my art along with the other hundreds of artists' works which were chosen to exhibit. I have had most of this year to plan for the event. Although, life has thrown many unforeseen kinks in my plans, I have had no trouble adapting and overcoming. After all, this is how God created us. To problem solve, adapt, and overcome. We were never intended to sit down, play the victim, blame others, make excuses and pity party our way out of our responsibilities, dreams, or purpose. I had a strong plan as I packed up the car and drove to Miami. This plan included me traveling alone, because Mike was not able to travel with me this trip.

As I arrived at the venue to drop off the three artworks that were recruited to be shown at the event, I panicked. I felt imposter syndrome kick in with full force. I knew this feeling. I had felt this way early in my mental health career when I was subpoenaed to testify in court, or when someone with serious mental health needs was assigned to my caseload. Imposter syndrome is basically feeling like a fraud, like you really do not know what you are doing, like you do not belong, and you believe that soon everyone will realize you are making a complete fool of yourself.

I left the venue and texted my family stating, "my imposter syndrome is kicking in." Of course they did not know to take this seriously. I go back to my hotel realizing my anxiety is taking over. I started having a conversation in my head.

"Now I know this is normal and all artists go through this at some point. I have taught classes and workshops, I have spoken at conferences, and I have pushed myself to participate in events much more frightening and risky. Why are you reacting this way? This is an opportunity which you were chosen for, and you have looked forward to this for a long time."

I answered myself, "Because you have poured your heart and soul into your art in a way that you did not those other times. Potentially, 50,000 people could be judging your art over the next few days."

This conversation continued until opening night of the event. I almost talked myself into not going. But I am a fighter. I always have been and I guess I always will be. So I dressed in my best opening night clothes, and off I went.

I did move past the anxiety and I talked to many art enthusiasts, art buyers / collectors, and met some very interesting artists. Overall, the event was a success. Thinking back now I honestly can not remember what triggered the imposter syndrome and I have forgotten how the anxiety felt. I do remember how very alone I felt. But it was also a reminder that I can do what I need to do, even when I am alone.

I am looking forward to the next event scheduled for New York in 2023. I am inspired to launch even more ideas out of our art gallery, and I laugh at myself each time I think of how easy it was to get lost in the anxiety. The truth is, even if the event had not been a success,I would not change any of it. After all, I had nothing to lose by giving it my best attempt.

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