Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Do you hear what I hear? Part 1

The perfectionist in me cringes at this picture of my work because the lighting really highlights the textures. It's a mixed media collage.  It's meant to have texture.  There is character and beauty in those lines. But my perfectionism tends to see those lines as flaws. My instinct is to want to "fix" it.  Make it pretty.  And nice. And flawless.

I haven't posted in seven weeks.  Partly because I'm trying to spend more time with my art. Partly because I'm a perfectionist. Mostly because I'm afraid. I'm afraid because I can only write what's on my heart, and my heart has been under reconstruction this year. Reconstruction is always messy. It's not a pretty process. I can't present you with something nice and flawless.

Who wants to admit that in the blog land of the steadfast, the faithful, the heroic, the inspirational, the helpful, the hopeful, and the perfectly polished?  Not me!  I'd rather not write, not share, not speak, until I'm all fixed up and the heart project is complete and I can share the good news and the lessons learned and we can all live happily ever after.

Who wants to hit the "publish" button knowing that the person sitting behind you at the next game may very well know what is going on behind your pleasant smile and the friendly "how are you?"  It's a small town where I live.  I don't think many people here do a lot of blog reading, but every now and then I get a comment, "Oh! I just read your blog!"  When that happens, I don't know whether to be happy or run and hide.

You see, I come from a long line of very quiet Dutch people who faithfully and respectfully kept their thoughts and feelings and problems to themselves.  After a lifetime of practice, I do an exceptionally good job of wearing the masks too.  I don't like to rock that boat. Or is it a wooden shoe?

(trying to pose like the ancestors)

Blogging could easily become a mask for me--a lovely mask where I could safely write and edit and delete every single word and picture until I have the perfectly polished presentation of my thoughts. Given enough time and tools I could always pick the perfect words to say. That's not real life.  That's not real me. I don't want to be that kind of blogger. I don't ever want anyone to visit my blog and find an edited perfected blog version of me. There are blogs that I don't read anymore for that very reason.  Their seemingly perfect "everything" leaves me feeling envious and  inadequate as a wife, mother, artist, blogger, and friend. Yuck.

So I struggle sometimes trying to find the balance. 
 Being real without being depressing. 
 Being honest without whining.
Sharing without preaching.
 But mostly I wonder...does it really matter?
I read what I've written and this is what I hear:

"Who really cares?"

"It's not important."

"It's not good enough."

"Why even try?"

"It doesn't matter."

"Someone else does it better."

I hear it all the time.

Do you hear it too?
When you write? When you draw?  When you paint? When you build? When you sing?
When you sew? When you play your song? When you send that letter?
When you bake that pie? When you snap that picture? When you hit that ball?
 When you lace up your shoes? When you pick up the phone? When you teach your kids?
When you offer to help? When you deliver those cookies?
When you do that thing that makes your heart sing?

I used to think that it was the voice of insecurity, a lack of confidence, or perfectionism talking. 

I used to think that maybe it was true.

It's not.

It's a bunch of lies.

And I'm not going to listen to it anymore.

(to be continued...in less than 7 weeks)

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; 
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
~ Jesus of Nazareth,  John 10:10 


  1. I think every artist feels this way. I often wonder why I bother when it will never be good enough and no one will care. And what does it all matter in the grand scheme. And then I have a quiet moment and the ideas come and you can't turn them away

    BTW, I love the picture at the top and your journals. They are beautiful.

  2. Aunt Kristi, your blogging is so inspiring! I'm always extremely impressed by your incredible talent in art and writing, and I always look forward to reading your blog.
    And I know the feelings you're talking about. I talk myself down all the time and make myself more anxious than I should be about sharing my gifts.
    Can't wait to hear what more you have to say! :)
    (And I may need to hire you to make something for my blank walls in my bedroom!)

  3. Don't think for a minute that you are the only one that hears this. Anyone who is honest will say they feel the same way.

    I too easily fall into this as well.

    I try to keep in mind that it isn't my job to do things perfectly. It is my job to glorify the One that created me and gave me the ability to do anything at all. I just hope my creativeness points others to the One that created this whole world; My hospitality to show God's generosity: My love for my kids to show God's amazing love for us all. And so on...

    I know there will always be someone that does "it" better, which can make me feel completely inadequate. But I'm learning to be ok with that and to just keep doing the best I can.

    I can't wait to read your next blog.

    And I can't help but laugh when I look at that picture of you serious Deur kid!

  4. Yes to all of that. Every word, every day.

    You are beautiful friend!

  5. Aunt Kristi,
    You are insanely talented and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I enjoy reading your blog and seeing your artwork. I love how you can be so honest and not pretend that everything in your life is perfect. Even if no one reads this, it is an important process for you to go through. It does matter.
    Love you!

  6. 1. I am in utter awe of your art. It is TDF, as my friend Sarah would say. (to die for)

    2. All of that naughty self-talk you hear about your blog? That's what I hear about my book writing. You hit the nail on the head.

    I love your heart. I love your Dutch girl pose.

    Just give it a go, Lady. We're all ears. (like, literally, you should see the size and protrusion of my ears...)

  7. Beautiful, Kristi. Thank you for putting down words to share your heart's work in progress. You inspire me.
    Love you,

  8. Thanks for honestly sharing. I identify and appreciate you voicing the thought.