Saturday, November 09, 2013

Change for the better: Part 4

When I look back at life, I can only find a few things I truly regret. Sure there are some friends I've drifted apart from that I wish were still in my life, and there are some nasty things that I've said to people I care or cared about that I'd prefer to take back, but real regret? Apart from not spending enough time with my dad when he was alive, I can only find one thing I really look back upon with deep sadness: Dropping out of college.

As I've mentioned a million times before (which only goes to show the mark it has left on my poor, poor soul), after a gap year I went back to school with high hopes and a mind open to all the cool stuff I would learn. I didn't do much research on what studying Graphic Design would entail but I figured I would love it anyway, considering the fact it was hard to knock me away from my computer as I was designing little layouts for my then-very new blog, and boy was I eager to learn.

And hell, was I wrong, too. Turns out I'm a very pragmatic person, a yes-or-no, black-or-white-and-I-don't-care-about-your-so-called-greys kind of gal: Which is the exact reason why I don't like magic, I hate thinking about the vastness of the universe and economics. Okay that one is kind of off but dammit I do not understand a notion about economics. (My solution is just to print mo' damn money yo!)

There is no set answer when it comes to designing, no right or wrong (unless you're using Comic Sans, because well, that's just wrong), no yes or no. Thus the only way of learning, was to make mistakes, to talk about the mistakes, and think of ways to improve. We had one professor who really knew what he was doing. We'd be drawing the naked lady in the center of the room and he would stop by every student and use the famous sandwich technique.
If you're ever in the position to give criticism, I suggest you listen up - this was the only class I kept going to even after I had decided to drop out - The sandwich technique is when you say something nice, then gently drop the c-bomb (criticism, you dirtbag!), then end with something nice again.
Worked like a charm. We all saw right through it, but even so, most of us felt so much more confident in his class and thus more willing to try new things than in any other class.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, a little bit of feel good goes a long way: Positive reinforcement helps you break out the vicious circle of fear of failure, and over the past few weeks I have come to notice that I don't feel as anxious to start a new project anymore, ideas are flowing and taking action is starting to become so much easier! Hurray!

That little voice inside my head telling me I'll fail is still there, perhaps even louder than ever but at least now I can understand what it's rambling on about.
Our heads are so full of white noise, it can be hard to solidify thoughts. You probably know that feeling when you want to redecorate your bedroom/give yourself a make-over and you think you have it all figured out but then you hit the stores and you're clueless (or if you're like me you buy ALL THE THINGS and realise when you get home that nothing matches, or that this was not quite the look you were going for, after all). That's when moodboards come in handy, because unlike vague ideas and fleeting thoughts, they present actual visual guidelines.
So I thought long and hard about what exactly that voice in my head is saying, filtered out the white noise, and tried reversing these negative mantras:

... Yet that's probably because they put a lot more time and effort into their passion than I do. The reason why I put up that drawing of my mom's cat Enya in a Matryoshka costume, is because I don't want to only showcase the perfect work, because hey, everyone fails. It's like the lyrics in one of Macklemore's (I LOVE THAT DUDE) songs, Ten Thousand Hours, which I quoted in the image atop this post. I bet even bitchy-looking Rembrandt up there did some paintings that were sort of shitty.

Ah, the American dream. Hard work only comes in secondly, because first and foremost, you have to really want it and set your mind to it. Laws of attraction, you know, that kind of thing that Oprah likes so much. Obviously it worked out pretty well for her, but not for me. I'm not an existentialist, in the nature versus nurture discussion I stand somewhere in the middle, I realise I'm privileged just by being born in a first world country, in a white middle class family and that compared to the rest of the world, I don't have many battles to fight. I have everything going for me, but until recently I still didn't manage to pick up a pencil on a regular basis even though I really want to - lord knows how badly! Maybe even too badly - The need for success created a huge amount of pressure, and I think I just couldn't bare it any longer and snapped.

When I was a kid, we didn't have a lot of money. We were never poor, but prioritising was essential, and to me, that meant I hated spending my pocket money on candy, entrance fees to parties, lunches with friends etc... I let go of that throughout the years, when my parents had a little bit more to spend and more so when I got my first job at the local shoe store when I was 17. Money is not an issue anymore, but another thing gained value rapidly: Time. Ten thousand hours is a lot you guys, how do I find the time to draw if I can't even prepare a frikkin' meal before 8PM on a weekday?!

But alas, practice is much needed, and luckily I enjoy it more than I did now that some of the pressure is wearing off. Once again: Have some tea, pet your cat (if you don't have one, get one) and have fun.

This is what I wake up with from my naps in the couch (unless she's using my body as a trampoline, that is).

This one is probably the most damaging of all. Before seeing a psychologist during my year in college and she told me that what I was feeling was fear, not laziness, I, and others, chastised myself for being a lazy fuck, but peepz, do NOT let anyone tell you you're just lazy when you're fighting every fibre of your body trying to do what you love: Clearly you're a perseverer if you're trying so hard to make it work even if the wheels of your wagon aren't as round as others'. 
So instead of blaming yourself, pat yourself on the back, even if the work that's being done is mostly in your head. Okay that makes us sound like we're crazy people but lets just agree that it's about darn time to get them hands dirty, yo!

Oh and, by the way, you guys! Lala decided she didn't like my old phone so she climbed on my bedroom shelf and shmacked my phone to the floor. I upgraded to an iPhone and I got a little app-crazy, so I have Instagram like everyone else now! See that little purple icon down there? Click it! Follow me! I promise I won't go too far with the cat pictures (unless you want me to, which YOU OBVIOUSLY DO).

Yours truly,

Vicky and Lala.



At November 11, 2013 at 12:15 PM , Blogger Dress your life. said...

Mooie tekst, het heeft mij geïnspireerd om mij vandaag extra hard in te zetten voor mijn schoolwerk :)
Instagram woew! Kattenfoto's zijn uiteraard verplicht..
Naomi, x

At November 12, 2013 at 12:29 PM , Blogger Insomnia said...

I really enjoyed reading all of your updates. It clearly shows that at this point you're trying hard to get to your goal, unlike me for example :)
I'm pretty sure that I am just lazy, instead of scared and maybe just a bit tired.

Lala reminds me so much of my previous cat. ah, cats are the best!

At November 14, 2013 at 8:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, dit is heel herkenbaar allemaal. Thanks for sharing! :)


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