For a long time in my life, I did my best to convince myself that I was an artist. I dedicated a reasonable amount of time to learning how to draw, mostly cartoons and comics, and in time I developed a style that I have come to be content with. The same can be said for creating music. Since I was 11, I developed a healthy love for learning how to play various instruments, and by the age of 20 or so, I considered myself to be pretty damn good at playing the drums (as well as pretty adept at guitar and bass, and good enough to screw around on the keyboard). To a lesser extent, I have also fancied myself as something of a wordsmith, even going as far as to go to college for Journalism (for a little while, anyway).
The problem with my view of myself as an artist is that art has a certain set of steps that need to be followed in order for it to really be considered true Art. First, it must be created. Then, shared with the an audience. Finally, it must be given feedback, for better or for worse. For me, the creation of art was never really the problem. I could show you backlogs of drawings that I’ve had since I was in middle school or play you songs that I wrote when I was still a lonely emo kid. Steps two and three, however, terrify the shit out of me. Perhaps it is because I do not want to hear negative criticism for a part of my life that I have long believed to be integral to my identity as a person, or perhaps it is just because I am afraid of sharing my feelings with the world. Creating art has always been something of an intensely personal, if sometimes lonely process. It is cathartic. It helps to remind me that I am a person who still has that twinkle of imagination that I used to love as a child. In that regard, I love doing it. When it comes to sharing it, though, I immediately begin to feel as though I was pushed into a pool of water blindfolded, and now I have to figure out which way is up before I drown. It’s terrifying, but I suppose it’s better to try to find the surface than give up and sink to the bottom.
I know it is probably quite cliche (and probably already done many times throughout the different iterations of this course), but vulnerability, to me, is the ultimate act of letting another person view you as you view yourself. Overcoming that fear of letting people see the world through my eyes and hear it through my ears is something that I’ve long known that I’ve had to do in order to grow as a human being, but something that I’ve always put off for as long as I possibly could. I feel like that time is now. Call it egotistical or perhaps just unimaginative, but I would like to be the subject of this course. It probably will not make for the most compelling of websites for others, but for me, I think it can be a landmark accomplishment. College is all about growing as a person, and I think that making myself vulnerable to a group of complete strangers is the ultimate act of vulnerability. It’s time to sink or swim.