There I said it. I know you have had your doubts and that you have been plagued by this thought for what seems like eons and I am confirming it. You were right all along! You are not good enough.
But contrary to general opinion, this is GREAT NEWS.
I see it all the time on Instagram. Young artists putting together a drawing just barely resembling a human, but already thinking of selling, their brains infected with YouTuber’s videos of making “How I made 100k in the 1st year of starting my business” and turning “hobby into a full time career”.
I see it when Instagram shows me digital artists who can’t even trace well but are offering “portraits of you and your loved one” (these are the fucking worst! Just go over the line, how can you not trace!?!)
I see it in my old work when I realize that some great drawings I made were pure dumb luck and that I didn’t know basic anatomy. I see it in the mistakes I used to make where the figure is not intentionally deformed, it’s just me making a mistake.
I was right. I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t know it then, but I know it now. And following that rule of thumb, it would be safe to assume that I am not good enough now.
Does it mean that I should stop doing what I do? Or that I shouldn’t have been doing it way before? Or that they shouldn’t be selling their stuff? Naaaa. Fuck that!
Because here is the thing:
There is no good enough!
Enough is a mirage that moves with us. As you move forward or upwards it moves with you and you can never get there. Your idea of what’s possible or what you would like to create will always be miles ahead of you. That is the role of your mind, to create possibilities that can pull you forward. Evolution made sure of this to propel us.
You will never be good enough. If the great Hokusai never considered himself to be good enough, how can we ever be.
Being good enough is an idea of where our ideal self is, nothing else.
The thing that you (and I ) will do is, instead of using it against us, like we tend to do, we will use it to our advantage. We will not use it as a stick to punish ourselves with. We will not use it as yet another proof “WE are not enough” because that’s a whole other issue (that I am not enlightened enough to talk about).
In the eternal words of our queen Missy Elliot we’ll flip it and reverse it.
We will embrace that we are not good enough, embrace it with all our hearts. We will know deep in our hearts that we are not good enough and never will be. We will be humble and we will know that for the rest of this incarnation we will need to work and learn and practice (smart practice!) to reach the unreachable. That every once in a while we will hit a plateau where we will rest and breathe and, for a few brief moments, not be tormented by the gap between what we want to and what we are able to create.
And we will know that it’s a gift. That knowing we are not good enough is a grace from whoever put the matrix together. Because if there was good enough that would mean the end. There would be nothing more to do and it would mean death.
You see the mistake that those artists who can’t trace but insist on selling portraits make, is ignoring their inside voice and believing they are good enough. That’s why they’re selling literal digital rubbish. Because they have a goal in mind and they have told themselves that yes, this is good enough because I want what I want and I want it now. And they are not humble before their craft. They are not learning and developing and growing, because they are lying to themselves. Like I was lying to myself when I would tell myself I do know anatomy or perspective or composition and I was constantly ignoring the truth that was in front of me in the shape of my mistakes: I didn’t know jack shit about any of those things. If only I had admitted to myself that I wasn’t good enough and that that’s ok, I would have learned much faster. I would have seen my mistakes are not there to demean me but to lift me up. I would have known that not being good enough at something means only that I have huge acres in which to grow and create in.
I know it takes courage to admit and embrace this. It takes courage and feelings of inner security most of us don’t have. Especially when we are younger. Crazy irony is that accepting this will give you that courage and security. Because once you accept it you will know that there is no bottom you will drop from. That’s how it feels but that’s also a lie: there is no bottom and there is no magical heaven of enough up there. Nothing will happen I promise you. How do I know? Because I have embraced it and I am still here. And here it is, officially on the internet, a place where everything is permanent and nothing ever disappears from:
I, Maya Beus, am not good enough artist and never will be.