Coming This Week

I’m working on a post on vulnerability, but it’s not finished. And I’m too tired to finish it, so it will have to wait. Something is missing, and that needs to show up yet.

tapeThis week, along with the post on vulnerability (the good side of it), I am going to review Srathmore’s new hard-cover mixed media journal (not the one with a spiral). Hint: I ordered more than one.

Through the generosity of Linda Penny, one of the Tucson PaperWorks members, I have some new adhesive–a piece of Scotch brand positionable adhesive. (Photo on left)  Will it work on paper? Photographs? Fabric? A review  will be coming up this week, too.

Other fun items this week–I’ve heard from Featuring magazine that the new issue will be out this week–the one with my article. And a photo from the article is on the cover! (OK–along with a lot of other photos.). I’m really excited. I’ll order some and when they arrive, there will be a giveaway of those, too.

Should I order several and then sell them from my blog? It would save you overseas postage. The magazine isn’t cheap (about $10) but it’s a great read. Let me know what you think.

While I’m testing and writing, I have a question for you–what is your earliest memory of the Inner Critic showing up? Do you remember it from childhood? Middle school? High school? I’m curious. Leave a comment. No prizes (they happen later this week), just wondering.

Quinn McDonald is glad last week is over. Today was the first day in 12 consecutive days she wasn’t working on something.

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33 thoughts on “Coming This Week

  1. I think I’ve always had an inner critic. I’ve always been hard on myself. I’m the oldest child and first grandchild so I think there are high expectations that go along with that. My mother was the queen of the backhanded compliment. I love art but over the years convinced myself I have no talent. My drawings never looked right, I don’t have a good eye for color or perspective. It didn’t help that we got graded in art class. It’s only lately that I have given myself permission to play art project, but I still don’t want anyone to see what I have done.

  2. I can’t recall when mine first showed up, but I do distinctly remember the realization that nobody else seemed to have one – it was in first grade, and I envied the fearlessness that my classmates and other children seemed to have whenever tackling pretty much anything.

    I hated my Inner Critic for years, until as a young adult, I realized that she had my best interests in mind, even if she was cruel and heartless about it.

    • That’s pretty early for your inner critic to show up. I can’t speak for everyone, but inner critics seldom have your best interests in mind. They speak to your fears of lack and attack. While they are not always wrong, they are frequently one-sided. But I’m glad you’ve come to peace with yours.

      • Ahh, you are right – see? this is me, being an OCD-Perfectionism-Rabid-Optimist. You saw right through me (and I saw nothing wrong with my original comment, either!) What I should have said was that I understood her motives, took them with a grain of salt, and tried to instead see my inner critic as Quality Control. She has her say, and then I rationally filter through her words, take what I can, and (try to) discard the rest.

        As a working creative (I am a painter), I do have to be brutally honest with my work, and that’s where I allow her to speak up the loudest, when she is critiquing my output – that was what I was referring to when I said I thought she had my best interests in mind.

        But you are right – there’s lots of other pain she can inflict if I am not careful. She is not allowed to harsh on me or my family and friends, and I have to rein her in when that starts. But by listening to what she is saying, I can learn about my fears and start to face them in a healthy way.

        Thanks, Quinn!!

  3. I don’t know when my inner critic showed up exactly. It always seems to have been a part of me. I do remember how dumb I felt in Grade 2 when I cut off the wrong part of the Santa body (the part to which I was to glue on the head of Santa). It didn’t matter that earlier that day I had been chosen for the honor of coloring all three parts of the stable. Normally the job goes to three different students picked by the quality of their coloring skills on another project. Mrs. Robinson didn’t know the names of the three until she looked on the back of each project. They were all mine! Yet my excitement was crushed forever because of the mistake I made later. Nobody told me I was dumb, but I felt I was. Perhaps this was the birth of the inner critic for me. The memory is still vivid to this day. I can still smell the wax of the crayons.

    • It’s so brave of you to tell this story. And as always, I am surprised at how we remember the bad things that happen more vividly than the good things. And there were some wonderful things in that story, Leah. I hope you are still calling on your inner artist to stand up for you.

  4. YES order more of Feature to save on shipping! I just got the first two and love them. I kicked myself when two days later #3 was being printed.

    • I’m ordering #3, and will get a shipping discount, which I will pass on. I loved both the first issues, and I can’t imagine I’ll like the second one less. (OK so it has my article in it. I might be biased.)

  5. Fascinating! This is my kind of conversation. I thought too, that inner critic must come from outside sources but after reading Quinn’s comment about reptiles I will have to rethink. But I do believe that inner critic is nurtured there…from outside, that is.
    I do not remember my first inner critic experience. I do remember my toughest outer critic…my Dad. His favorite nickname for me was Dummy. There must have been a part of me that knew better because I have never believed it, even as a child I remember being sorry for him that he didn’t appreciate my talents. He’s dead now but I still think of him that way.
    I’m an oldest child and have always been optimistic about everything! I *can* do it, I *will* make this happen. I just have to *want* it badly enough.
    I have decided I must be an old soul.

    • We learn from others’ behaviors. We learn where power is and how to use it by watching others. By the time a child is 25 months old, they can tell the difference between what someone says and how they behave. So feedback–outside nurturing–makes a huge difference. We then model our inner critic after the most powerful (and often cruelest) adult. That’s why abused children so often grow into abusing adults.

  6. I think my Inner Critic first showed up early in elementary school, probably grade one or two. We had to practice drawing different things – our shoes, vases of flowers, etc. – and some students always received so much attention from the teachers because their drawings were so good. When my drawings didn’t get attention, I thought, “My drawings don’t look like theirs, so mine mustn’t be any good. I can’t draw.” I really lost interest in drawing until just a few years ago when I tried it again and discovered that I actually can draw after all.

    • I still see that in the adults I teach. Everyone wants attention, good attention. Praise. I know I can’t teach adults technical writing in 8 hours, that it will take practice. So I praise what they do well. If they just do more of that, their writing will get better.

  7. Fifth grade for me. It was *my* inner critic, though, not anyone else’s. The assignment was to make a stamp with linoleum and wood block. We used speedball linoleum cutting tools (like these: http://www.amazon.com/Speedball-Linoleum-Cutter-Assortment-1/dp/B0017D8W5E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355076577&sr=8-1&keywords=speedball+linoleum+cutter).

    I began my ambitious project (even for an adult), that was supposed to be a wonderful winter scene where a horse-drawn sled raced through trees dressed in their winter clothes. The trees were to be lithe and delicate, the sled had lots of details. The horse, in my head, was strong and agile. It was the perfect scene for a great stamp.

    What I ended up with was a major disappointment to me. I was so irritated with myself that I had mastered so many other things (I worked hard to master subjects – not just pass them) and I was unable to, on my first try, master the art of stamp carving.

    I was very unhappy with the stamp. It made it so much worse to discover that my Mom & teachers (Mr. Pringle and Mrs. ?) thought it was so wonderful and fantastic! Ugh. It was obvious to me that it did NOT match the image in my head and so it was worthy only of the garbage can.

    My Mom still has that stamp and brings it out at Christmas time. It still annoys me that it was so… Childish. Unmasterful. Primative.

    The funny part about those thoughts about the stamp is that I have a painting done by my niece, a pointillism of a wolf baying at the moon. I LOVE it. It really is fantastic, made even more wonderful because she attempted the style when she was in 6th grade. I see on her face the same look of scorn for the painting, made worse by my love of it.

    • Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. That’s a hugely ambitious project for a first-time project. But you imagined it so vividly. And now the failure, not the successes (imagining it, knowing what it would be like) are stamped in your memory. Creality (the distance between what we imagine and what we actually make) is a cruel distance. But I’m glad you love your niece’s work. She will grow up to understand unconditional love as separate from art criticism.

  8. I remember my inner critic when I was in grade school. I think around 3rd grade. I had a teacher who constantly criticized everyone including me and I think that is where it all started. She was also very sarcastic.

  9. From reading the other comments here, it sounds as if many people’s inner critics get started from outside sources- their mom, a teacher, etc…is this always the case, I wonder? Maybe if there hadn’t been those outside critics first, there never would be an Inner one? I’m curious…

    • Having an inner critic may be inevitable. From my research: there is a part of the brain that triggers flight/ fight/ freeze /herd instincts among all animals (including people) It’s part of the reptilian brain, so it’s ancient. So we all have a type of inner critic. What nurtures it is socialization, the way it is done for small kids–behave, conform, compete. The tools used to make that happen are shame. Shame triggers fear and anger and the growth of the inner critic from “conscience” (right and wrong) to constant harping about lack and attack.

  10. Fifth grade. Art class. The assignment must have been “draw a tree” because I drew one similar to the ones you see in coloring books. Mrs.? stood by my desk and said, “look out the window Pamela. Do any of those trees have rubber bands around them?” I put the pencil down and really never picked it up again.

  11. Hey cool, your feature is featured in Feature! That’s as good as Martin Freeman revealing (on the Colbert Report) the existence of a legless Lego Legolas.

    As for early memories, I don’t seem to (be able to) personify inner drives, but I think I was between one and two years old when I began, in flashes, to experience self-awareness. I must have been at least partially preverbal because it was so frustrating to not know words, and at least twice that’s what I was inexplicably crying about. A couple of my flashes of “waking up” were associated with realizing I was crying for no particular reason and suddenly becoming aware of it and wondering why. The first extended attempt to solve a problem — that I remember, anyway — had to do with ice cream when I was three or four. I had a nickel or dime and pedaled my tricycle on an epic journey, which I probably was not supposed to do, to where the Mr. Softee ice cream truck stopped at the end of our cul-de-sac. On my way back, it being a hot day, my ice cream cone dripped into my the red and white plastic horn mounted on my handlebars (this was a trippily tricked-out trike). And before too long—the stuff hardened! I eventually worked out: whatever that stuff was, it wasn’t ice cream. It did not dissolve in water. I had no way to disassemble my horn that would let me fix it and put it back together. My horn never worked again, and I’m pretty sure I never again tried a Mr. Softee confection.

    • Thank you Bo. When I order them, I will post the price of the magazine and postage from Arizona, which will be Priority Mail, on my blog with a link to my website, where a PayPal button will let you order it. (I can’t post PayPal buttons on my blog). I can’t order bulk till early this week.

  12. Vulnerability is such a toughie! Nobody wants to be seen as weak, and vulnerability often gets lumped in with that, yet showing our vulnerability is usually what makes us truly strong (I even wrote a post on that back here: http://artfullycarin.com/be-vulnerable-2/).

    My earliest memory of my inner critic showing up is quite early. My mother was (is, though she’s mellowed) was a perfectionist, so I was pretty young (like 5 or 6) when I first started hearing her well-meaning, but criticising voice in my head. Before I knew it, it was my own voice criticising, not hers.

    • This sentence from your blog post makes so much sense: “With a body full of pain and head full of what ifs, it would be so easy to sink into a comfy fog of depression.” And discussing your physical feelings tied up in your emotions can be really complicated.

      Ah, that inner critic. Yours showed up early. Perfection is an attempt to escape from vulnerability, isn’t it?

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