I woke up today feeling very down on myself. It’s already February and what have I done? Then, I sat and truly thought about it… Well Chris, you have been running an art project for adults with learning disabilities, you’ve done about twenty reasonably good bits of art, you’ve got a load of things sorted out at the doctors, you’ve met up with and employment agency and have set the ball rolling to get some properly paid work and you have put together a folio of all your art and teaching skills. That shut me up. Well, for a minute at least; it doesn’t take me long to find something else to feel bad about, but that is life with depression I guess.
Each of us carries around a picture of ourselves in our head; how much that resembles the real us can vary widely from person to person. For some, that picture has gone through a sort of internal photoshop, where all our flaws have been airbrushed away, while for others (like myself) it’s been screwed up and trodden in the mud. Those of the overinflated ego persuasion seem to be oblivious to their own faults; they inflict their idiotic ideas or talentless dross on the world without a backwards glance, whilst others find it such a struggle to put anything out there and are easily bruised at the merest perception of a knockback.
I mentioned earlier that I have been putting a portfolio together; it’s in the form of an a4 folder that documents things I have done. When initially ask to make it, I winced and became worried that it was going to prove a tough request and it was. The problem, however, became rapidly one of running out of space rather than one of finding work to fill the thing. I had to eventually buy a folio that held eighty pages instead of the initial forty, only to run out of printer cartridges getting it all on paper. My achievements clearly and expensively outweighed my perceptions of them.
Most days are things we just get through; we just get on with what we need to do right now and are so in the moment that it just doesn’t occur to us what we have done. I am lucky in a way that what I do is mainly visual, I can scroll back through image files and see artwork done, workshops run and projects completed. It was life affirming to see it all and flip through page after page that clearly denied the image I have of myself as a bit of a waste of space. There are plenty of people out there whose exhistances are deeply valid but not as easy to evidence, they touch other people’s lives in a positive way yet don’t have anything much to show for it. If you are one of those people, I salute you; and if I know you… I would like to think I noticed.