A big part of my recovery is focused on doing things. I spent a lot of time trying to reset by taking time away from things, and just slowing down a bit. Now, part of my next steps are getting back into things, though I’m trying to do so without putting so much pressure on myself.
One of the things I really struggle with is feeling like a failure. I don’t know why I feel that way, but I do. And it’s important to point out I am not saying that I think I am a failure – I know that I am not. I have a family, friends, a house, a good job, I am intelligent, I am educated, I am fun to be around, etcetera. But I still feel like a failure. I don’t know why I feel that way when every bit of truth around me argues against it. There’s no thinking my way out of that slump, it’s there, and it won’t listen to reason.
According to the things I learned in my IOP program, I might not be able to change how I feel by saying things to myself. Sometimes that might work, but sometimes it won’t. In cases where saying different things doesn’t help, I can do different things. If my thoughts aren’t impacting my emotions, try actions – maybe actions will impact my emotions.
It makes sense when I write it out, but it seems counterintuitive at the same time. I feel like a failure because I constantly tell myself that I’m not good enough. When I do something, I evaluate the end result as a failure, which makes me feel worse. So, I stop doing things in an attempt to escape thet feedback loop.
So my emotions and my behaviors are polluted by these persistent pernicious thoughts. You’d think the solution is easy – just stop the thoughts. Just tell myself something true when a negative thought shows up. But for me, that’s not helpful. I tell myself something positive, and it feels disingenuous. It doesn’t take root.
So, this step in my recovery is to say fuck it when it comes to the thought-world – that place is fucking exhausting anyway – and start doing something different in the action-world. Start doing something, even something that I will fail at, and just keep on going. When the thoughts show up telling me that its a failure, well – fuck it. Just keep going.
With that in mind, I practiced gesture drawing. This is a great way to try this skill because gesture drawings aren’t supposed to look like finished drawings. A gesture drawing is supposed to capture the movement of the subject more than accurately capture its mass or likeness. This is very hard for me. My gesture drawings feel very stiff and restricted, out of proportion and amateurish. They feel that way because they are. And they are because I don’t practice them enough.
So, I’m practicing them. Here are some attempts I made today at gesture drawings from the Proko course I’m taking on figure drawing. I have a lot of room for improvement, and I want to try to commit to doing these a lot, since that is the only way to improve.
There are a few drawings in there from the structure lesson as well, you’ll see how different the gestural work os from the drawings that try to understand the structure of the subject.
One more thing: I notice that I have a horrible habbit of scratching lines on the paper, hunting around for the right line. This results in a muddy, jerky, confusing tangle. I need to slow down a bit and draw with purpose. Just because I’m doing a 30 second gesture drawing doesn’t mean I have to be in a panic. I should take my time and draw one confident wrong line instead of a dozen jerky attempts to find the correct line.
Here are the drawing I did this morning in order: