Inner Critics

I have been a bit manic lately in regards to my work. On one hand I feel accomplished, on the other I feel discouraged and incredibly hopeless. My inner critics are tearing up my ideas and even the small amounts of progress I have been making (<—wait… was that an inner critic? I can’t tell…) seem dull and unrefined.

As promised, I will write about the difficult and scary parts I am feeling while taking this leap of faith. We’ll start with the leap.

Five days ago, I wrote about and shared my Shitty First Video– a leap of faith toward a long held dream of mine to become a travel show host. I have been sitting on the idea of making a Travel Video Blog for well over a year now, and had not made many attempts to achieve it. Although I have been gathering a lot of footage, I had yet to actually produce a piece in which I was in front of the camera- and speaking. I tried this several times, but I didn’t use it because I hated the way I looked or sounded. It sounded like an act- like I was trying to sound like some actor narrating a serious documentary. This did not sound at all like me. So I scrapped it all and tried to focus on other people.

I was procrastinating on Facebook one day and came across a video by Ze Frank. To put it short- he encouraged his viewers to get your ideas out into the open, and not let them bounce around in your head like addictive “brain crack”.  As soon as the video wasover, I reached over, picked up my camera, and spoke as me. I think the biggest reason I succeeded in sounding like my genuine self is at that moment I didn’t care what people thought of me. I was just excited to be getting my idea out into the world- and relieved to finally be doing it. I gave it a quick edit, not allowing myself to add any music or titles- and repressing my inner procrastinator.

I posted it immediately to my blog and Facebook to be viewed by my peers, and to a great response! My friends and family praised me, left me comments and encouragement. It felt good, and I felt incredibly validated. My inner critics calmed down and I didn’t hear much from them for a few days. I felt inspired, excited, and happy. I have actually produced 3 more videos on the built up inspiration. I was on a roll!

And then I posted my second video, to a lot less hype than the first one generated. And the third video, even less. Naturally, the inner critics perked up at this point, nearly falling over one another to shout their insults and loudly announce new fears.

I will now hand the microphone over to these inner critics and let them share with you what they have to say…

Seriously, Corin? You are nearly 30 years old. You had your opportunity to work with video and film 10+ years ago, and you decided not to. Now everyone you went to school with on the subject has far surpassed your abilities and you can hardly figure out iMovie.

You’re too old to be playing around with this kind of stuff.

Get a real job.

No one wants to hire an overweight 30 year old to host a TV show.

You’re an ok writer but you don’t, nor will you ever, take the time to improve it.

No one cares what you have to say.

You’re too: fat, old, boring, uninteresting, unfocused, inexperienced, poor, unoriginal, you’re teeth are too crooked, your haircut sucks, you have bills to pay, you’re a freeloader, you’re a...

In case you were wondering, this is what my inner critics look like…

See? They’re mean! Terribly mean. So mean, I couldn’t even look at the words directly. I had to cross them out to remember these are not my own words or thoughts, but that of outer critics that I have allowed into my own mind. I don’t actually feel this way about myself. They sneak their nasty thoughts in when I am feeling a bit insecure or unsure of myself or my surroundings.

What makes this worse, is that I have recently moved to a new country. I am living in the countryside of Sweden. Very beautiful and an incredibly place to work on my writing (a lovely cabin in the forest, next to a lake.) And with a lovely and supportive boyfriend! But he works long days and I have not made any friends of my own yet, so I do not have any support locally. Normally I can just talk to my friends and receive the love an encouragement I need, but it is really difficult being so far from home and all that I know so well.

On the other hand, this gives me an incredible opportunity for new and exciting adventures! (<—-AHA! That’s the real me!) And I am really excited for what is to come. I keep telling myself that the sun will shine again, and I will soon be lifted from this gloom.  Until then, I have to just keep moving forward with my videos and my blogging. I’ve started, and now I feel I can’t stop- even with the lack of response toward my work, and the incessant voices of those raucous inner critics.

I fertilized the lawn yesterday, and it is rainy and gloomy today. But by next week the lawn will be green and rich. Perhaps that could be a metaphor for my current situation. Perhaps I just have to wait out the rain, and soon the sun will shine through and help me to grow.


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