Show your mistakes

About seven years ago I saw a homeopath. She was an old lady and when I rang the doorbell of her consulting room, the door was opened after a few minutes. Looking at her face I realized she had slept inside. The sleep leaves insolent traces on our faces. The doctor started interviewing me and asked me if I loved to write. ‘Yes, I have written for my  childhood – I had a diary.’ I also questioned her: ‘Why do I love writing so much?’. She answered that I wanted to rewrite the story of my life because I didn’t like it. Did I feel good in my own company? Actually, I was the sleeping person. I had put my real core to sleep in my invented study of a woman with a healthy business and fake friendships, pretending to have a wonderful life.

Before about two years I heard about the book ‘Show your work’ by Austin Kleon. Since I had stopped writing for some time, I was curious to know how this author would persuade me to start it again. My husband who had seen this interesting title in a bookstore in Plovdiv, Bulgaria where we have been living, told me about it. When we went there to buy the book they said it had been sold. Sooner, we found the book in Sofia, it wasn’t translated into Bulgarian at that time. I liked all the pieces of advice, and while was planning how to put them into practice, I was thinking about the art itself and its meaning nowadays. Then I figured out we must show ourselves. First of all ourselves. Because we exist in all things we show. Even in those we stubbornly hide. We have to show ourselves as we are – with our emotional wounds, the scars from the wounds, and the fear from new traumas.

If a person has experienced a traumatic event, he thinks it’s possible to escape from it in the art which he likes or creates. But his art is just he himself – he has tried to conceal himself in it; to express his personality openly; or to sham nothing happened. The terrible occurrence has already screwed him up, i.e. he doesn’t have a choice, except sharing it in some way. Probably, someone would argue there were people who didn’t go through brutal circumstances. I don’t know a great artist, writer or popular musician whose life situations were nice all the time. Also, there are individuals who haven’t managed to show themselves, although they have the precondition for being successful.

We are able to choose no matter what jobs so not to be what we really are, lying to ourselves and others we have found our vocations. On the picture in this post, next to the book by Austin Kleon, is my pumpkin cheesecake. I was so keen on cutting away what was inside me that I decided cooking was my desirable profession. I started learning it from scratch, it took about a year to develop my own recipes, mainly pastries. Now I cook for my family only and don’t think I would do it for a living. 

Despite the similar colours of the cover of the book and my sweet, the distinction between them is bigger as I want to show myself writing, not cooking. I realize there is nothing more important than to be what I am with all of my moods and ambitions. Show your work but as long as it’s your work indeed. If you show a work you just like to be yours, the results wouldn’t be good. Even if you achieve success, you will lose it fast because it doesn’t exist inside.

So, show yourself, eat sweets and don’t pretend not to be afraid of both in case of feeling anxious. Fear is just an indicator for the lack of courage. And the courage comes from the confidence in your own qualities. The qualities are tamed mistakes which will never betray you. Show your mistakes, everything else is vanity and prejudices.

Have you read 'Show your work' by Austin Kleon? What do you think about the book? 


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