I am, and always have been, my own worst critic. It's painfully apparent to me, and even people who don't know me all that well have said, "dang, girl, you're too hard on yourself." While I've learned to be nicer to myself, I still have a habit of beating myself up if I feel like I didn't live up to my own expectations, whether it's cooking, knitting, fiddling, singing, dog training, whatever. I always think I could have done better.
I realize this is the bane of most artistic people, and the depression doesn't help. Artistic people are statistically more likely to suffer mood disorders, so there's the double-whammy. Chronic depression often orders up a side of anxiety, because the double despair burger with extra angst sometimes isn't quite enough. WHEE. And then? Then you find yourself having that Smeagol/Gollum conversation with yourself.
Gollum: I suck.
Smeagol: You don't suck. Sure, there's always work to do, and improvements to be made, but that doesn't mean you suck.
Gollum: I totally suck.
Smeagol: Think about what you're saying here. Why do you suck?
Gollum: I forgot a verse/repeated a verse/forgot the words/flubbed a note/my voice cracked/my D string was all fuzzy/insert random reason for suckage here.
Smeagol: You're the only one who notices those things.
Gollum: I suck. Suckatola. Suckorama. Makin copies. SUUUUUUUUUCK.
Smeagol: If you sucked, would people keep inviting you back?
Gollum: Maybe they're just being charitable or they can't find anyone else.
Smeagol: I know you don't really believe that.
Smeagol: What about the little kids? Little kids LOVE you. And they don't say things just to be nice.
Gollum: They don't know I'm not real.
Smeagol: Not real? If I poke you in the eye with a knitting needle, you'll squall like a little girl. You're plenty real.
Gollum: I'm a velveteen rabbit.
Smeagol: Nope. No way. Because all the Velveteen Rabbit needed to be Real was to be truly loved. And you are definitely that.
Gollum: Okay. But I still suck.
And on it goes. Sometimes reasonably content, but never completely satisfied with the output. I don't write this to elicit sympathetic "you don't suck" responses - I write this because I know many of us have this same struggle. Logically I know everyone has been a beginner, everyone has sucked at some point, and no one sprang full grown from the head of Mozart with immediate prodigious ability at anything. There's always work to be done - often the real challenge is taking the first step to Just Do It. And don't we have a plethora of excuses for not taking that first step? Too old, too tired, too broke, not enough time, blahblahblahblahblah.
I always tell people that excuses are crap. Why don't I follow my own advice? I know what I need to do to suck less. So why don't I buck up buttercup and DO IT? It's not like I have anything to lose.
Well. Till next time - think about what you have to do to suck less, and JUST DO IT.