Getting Uncomfortable

3rd post for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)


The Prompt: Write about the last time you left your comfort zone.


Hmm. I’ve got to think about this one a bit. I’ve been spending a lot of effort to get comfortable lately because often times l find life, in its entirety, can feel pretty darn uncomfortable. At least in my personal life. And professionally, I’m pretty good about extending myself into new situations and taking chances in search for growth, which I think is the intention of this prompt to explore. It’s hard to think about the last discrete time I went out of my comfort zone. 

*thoughtful pause*

As I think about it, the last time that I did something that made me especially self-conscious and unsure was when I nominated myself to create visual art for a writing & art competition here in China. I’ve done some illustration for others but it’s always been online with a degree of safety through distance and virtual identity. But this was in real life and the art would be “real” too – I would need to print it out and display it. Among other people’s art. In China. Where the idea of being an amateur at anything is not exactly embraced. And I am an amateur by every definition. I’ve got passion but no training. I’m creative, but not exactly talented. At least not in the traditional sense. On top of all of that I would need to be there in person. No hiding behind my pen name persona. I would be there in reality – feeling like an imposter.

The way this worked is that a number or writers created short sci-fi stories and then us artists were assigned a story to create art inspired by the writing. I received my assignment (and volunteered for an extra) and decided that I would create “book covers”  for these stories. I created my first inspiration then chose to share it with the writers for feedback and input. This was not part of the official process, but I like to work collaboratively and this felt right for me. To be honest this part wasn’t uncomfortable. I was still working online and behind my pen name. I’d done online collaborative illustrations and covers before. Here are the pieces I created:

These are not ”high art” but I enjoyed creating them and I do think they captured the essence of the stories they were created for.

Now came the hard part though. Physically printing these suckers for the exhibition event with the realization that they would be displayed next to “real” artists’s work was terrifying. I felt completely inadequate. But I did it. And I mailed the pieces off to Hangzhou so they could be ready for the event.

I actually didn’t join the exhibition event itself due to Covid travel restrictions. I can’t deny that I was a bit thankful for this respite. But it didn’t lesson my anxiety about having my pieces displayed in a real space and seen by real people. It was unnerving.  In the end I got some pictures of the event over WeChat and there were lot’s of happy messages from the participants. Apparently it was a very nice occasion. 

I actually never got any feedback (good or bad) about my work. But I saw them hanging on the wall in the photos. Right next to some really cool pieces by another artist who does tattoo art professionally. My work was amateur in comparison. But I am an amateur. And I took the opportunity to stretch myself and improve my skills. More importantly I put myself out there as I am. The lesson here isn’t about growing more skilled or talented (although sometimes getting out of your comfort zone can do this). For me, the lesson this time was that it is ok to feel uncomfortable and to question myself as long as I still move forward. It didn’t matter that I didn’t earn any accolades or pats on the back. I can pat myself on the back. Good job Monty.

Be well,

Monty


10 Comments

  1. Welcome to WordPress!!!! This was really interesting and I liked seeing your art work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Monty Vern says:

      Thanks so much for the welcome and interest. Your mentioning the lack of ability to comment on my blog was the inspiration for me to move over. So a big thanks to you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aw yay! I am trying to be more engaged in my own blogging life, so leaving comments is kind of how I judge that. I can like someone’s post and not even read it haha but to leave a comment is more of an investment so now I can do that here!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Monty Vern says:

        As an author, reviews are very rare and one-directional. I’ve appreciated every review I ever got but it always felt like half a conversation. Interaction like this is why I started blogging.

        Like

      3. Its honestly the only reason I have kept with blogging for so long haha

        Liked by 1 person

  2. CarolCooks2 says:

    Lovely use of the prompt…It’s great that you are getting your artwork out there…Good Luck in the future…Thank you for following CarolCooks2 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Monty Vern says:

      Thanks so much Carol. It’s lovely to get your feedback.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. CarolCooks2 says:

        You are welcome, Monty 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Helen says:

    I love the pieces! they have an abstract feel and the colors are so vibrant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Monty Vern says:

      Thanks so much Helen! I really appreciate your feedback! 😊

      Like

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