I’ve been thoroughly sick of my computer this past week. I’ve been avoiding it, having a break. Dealing with things.
About a month ago I applied to be an artist at a gallery. I’ve been selling paintings at this gallery and felt the time was right to be represented by them. Last week I came back from a very rainy but happy run to find that I’d been rejected. Worse than that, the email was confusing and vague, full of contradictions and fluff. So while I was selling well (and giving a fair cut to the gallery) I wasn’t ‘developed’ enough. Basically, we’ll have your paintings and your money but you’re not good enough.
I was devastated. I spent the whole day crying and for a whole day my eyes were red. It was like the depression only there was something real and hard and concrete upsetting me. I could tell myself it was just feelings but the feelings were too much. I woke up in the middle of the night and the feeling of despair was so overwhelming I couldn’t close my eyes again. So many thoughts, so many feelings were bombing around my head: If I’m not an artist what am I? What will I do? Was I stupid to believe I could actually do this? Are my paintings too scruffy? Am I not educated enough? Am I not as clever as I thought? Am I not as good as I thought? The email was so bad I was left completely stranded. The rejection sentence was so vague I had no idea why I was being rejected and no idea how I was ever going to meet with this undefined standard.
I survived though, the fallout from bad news is very rarely fatal. I went through so many emotions: shock, anger, resentment, bewilderment, despair. I felt my identity was completely shook at its core. It’s bizarre how much I believe I am not my paintings and I am not how I make money but how when I comes down to it I don’t think that at all. I over-identified with myself as the artist so when I was told I couldn’t be the artist I was an empty shell with just my emotions rattling round inside.
I healed too, after the break. I’m still dealing with it, the gallery are being asses in my opinion but I may get some ‘mentoring’ out of it. I put my pride aside and let my curiosity take over when I was offered this.
I took refuge in my yoga practice, doing Rodney Yee’s course and going to lots of classes. I could still feel good in my body I discovered, still feel good in trikonasana. I also discovered some very good advice in dealing with disappointment and rejection. I also found this quote on the latter site:
“Success is sweet: the sweeter if long delayed and attained through manifold struggles and defeats.”
–A. Branson Alcott
And I took with it all the feeling that I’m in good company: what good artist is ever accepted by the institution?