What’s the most damaging attribute to have as a creative? DOUBT.
Doubt is a tricky little monster that continues to pop up at the most inconvenient times. It’s an imagined scenario we play over and over in our minds, used as a survival technique. It truly doesn’t exist. This monster notoriously feeds on fear, worry, anxiety—tricking our minds into believing it is real.
Self-doubt is definitely something I have faced throughout my career as a photographer. It’s extremely scary to put original art, a piece of my soul, out to the world. I feel so vulnerable, but a big part of my drive comes from that scary vulnerable feeling.
Recently, I created a shoot where I dipped roses in paint and I hung them upside down. They were the main prop for the fashion shoot I was creating. I was inspired by my grandparents ceramic rose jar they always kept filled with sweet treats. I inherited this jar after they both passed. It holds so much nostalgia for me and currently holds candy on my coffee table!
While I was starring at the colors mixed with the glossy smooth finish on the jar, my wheels started spinning into how I could interpret this. So I created it (pictured below). It was purely mine in this moment, my original idea . . . I put my beautiful new baby out to the world and felt exhilarated for 3 days. Then it happened—a friend of mine on Instagram tagged me in a photo posted on some big photo editing company with tons of followers—it was a rose dipped in paint with a similar hue of paint I chose. Has anyone else dipped a rose in paint before . . . duh, yes! But in that moment I felt my piece of art was discounted and the weight of how saturated our world is with imagery took ahold of me. How can I ever truly be innovative?
I burst into tears and my self-doubt monster came strolling in for a visit. I felt so defeated, and I began struggling with the concept that nothing can ever truly be original anymore. You can imagine where my brain spiraled from there—I will spare you my entire dissertation on this thought.
Then something truly wonderful happened—after I was venting to a few close friends, one of my girlfriends Pilar told me, “Tay Tay, no one can dip a rose like you can dip a rose, and that my friend is what is going to set you apart. There is only one Taylor in this world, so double down on that.” She did so much for me by speaking these words of encouragement. This advice is golden. And, she is absolutely right!!
Nobody can do it like you can do it. Please remember this the next time your self-doubt monster comes in to take you out of reality. You are an original, so embrace the weightlessness of uncertainty and doubt and own your craft. The only person you need to prove yourself to . . . is YOU. The rest will fall in to place and people will gravitate to your art if it’s authentically you.
As always, thank you for joining me on this journey inside the life of a creative. Together we are stronger, together we can make this trip a little bit lighter. If you want to talk or share any of your experiences with me, I am always game to start a conversation and help you problem solve. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.