I wrote recently about my introversion, but for much of my life there was more to it. I wasn't just introverted but also painfully shy and often very lonely. I kept to myself and spent hours playing alone, in my own little world. I didn't realize I was lonely most of the time because my active imagination (and sometimes my little sister) kept me company. But as I became an adult and had to enter 'the real world', I became increasingly aware of how hard it was for me to make friends. I had to do a lot of work through my twenties to develop those social skills most people develop at a much younger age. Now, in my mid thirties, I still don't make friends as easily as my extroverted counterparts, but I'm much more comfortable in social settings than I used to be and I'm incredibly lucky to have found a group of friends who are creative, authentic, and supportive. Still, I'm noticing a level of self protectiveness that has kept me from reaching out for help with my work.
I was out to dinner with a close friend this week and basically finally spilled my guts about my insecurities as an artist and she graciously listened then offered wonderful advice: 'You need people who speak your language and to find them, you need to reach out to them.' Ding ding ding! I realize I'm craving both honest critique of my work and a group of fellow potters and makers who know the ins and outs of mud slinging. I'm hoping to meet some new people at Crafty Wonderland in two weeks and I'll be sending a few emails in the coming weeks as well, hoping to find that tribe. It's scary, and I feel incredibly vulnerable, but in the words of Anais Nin: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."