Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Importance of Being Uncomfortable

Part of my sketchbook project - never tried Victorian lettering before and might not try it again!

This year, I set myself a resolution to make myself uncomfortable.

Not in the 'sleep on bed of nails every night and torture myself with really bad music' sort of way. More of a determination that if something comes along that isn't creepy, makes me panic at the thought of having to do it, and has the occasional makings of the impossible, I'll jump in and give it a shot.

There's a rationale to this twisted logic as crazy as it sounds.

It all boils down to this: I'm a person who abhors change. It was fine when I was still in university, but a series of moves across three continents in succession gave me a distinct disinclination towards upheaval. Stability, a place to come home to without having to constantly live out of suitcases - more and more, that got to be something imminently desirable. My gluten intolerance only compounded this, as travelling on a gluten-free diet? It gets hairy sometimes, and I dislike being ill even more than I dislike upheaval.

For the past two years though, I've been restless and fidgety, and I couldn't quite pinpoint why. Not until last year and only because I had to sit down and be brutally honest with myself - I'm discontented. I miss doing things that I used to. I feel stuck in a rut and creatively unfulfilled, and all in all, it was leading to a downright spiral of depression. The biggest reason? I'm afraid. I see new things and I think oh, that's great, but I'm too much of a coward to step up and say, Sure, why not.

The move to this new place last year was the beginning of a sort of mental shakeup. New place. New life. New things. Why was I still sticking to my comfort zone and bitching, when really, whose fault was it?

So this year? I've accepted two teaching positions that terrify the -crap- out of me. I don't feel capable, and I don't feel comfortable at -all- taking them because of the age groups involved - but the only way I'm going to grow is to stretch myself and -make- myself do it.

I've registered for an online jewellery class taught by a wonderful friend and mentor even though I'm scared stiff I won't do well and that I might have difficulty getting a butane torch and I might burn the place down due to stupidity. If I call myself an artist, I need to expand my skills - and being a cicak under a rock and bewailing my lack of 'em ain't going to get me anywhere. So it's kick-myself-in-the-butt time - knuckle down and just do it.

I'm trying to jab myself into resuming learning one new language. I figure if I want to say I'm bored, I can at least say it in the lingo of another country, which will make it slightly more interesting.

And I took a bookbinding class way out at the other end of the world this January because even though it was a crazy commute and I had to end early to go back to teach, I figured it was worth it. I've wanted to take that class for years. What's a little difficulty getting there anyway? Composers like Bach and Scarlatti -walked- to the next TOWN to hear concerts - that's harder than taking the LRT and making two or three changes, right?

Be less lazy, more forgiving, more productive, learn more stuff I've always meant to but haven't - that's what I'd like for this year. And let's not forget achieve very hard but not impossible things, like a win for Caipifruta at Graz this July for the World Choir Championships.

The importance of being uncomfortable - it keeps you from stagnation, and the pain of an overly large backside.