design your own creative sabbatical
APRIL 1, 2017
It took me thirty years to get comfortable with asking for what I want. It doesn't mean that I always get it, but it getting an answer that feels like 'No,' doesn't feel the way that it used to. For most of my life, I was really uncomfortable anytime I had to ask for something. There was a lot of stress in my family around the topic of money, and often times I'd feel guilty after asking for something that we couldn't afford. If there was a friend's parent in between me and the snack I wanted from the kitchen, I'd pretend I wasn't hungry so I wouldn't have to run the risk of them thinking I was greedy. My belly got knotted up every time I called a friend to see if they wanted to come over. So much of that came from an underlying fear of hearing 'No', and even more so, what I would interpret that No to mean about me.
I carried that fear with me and into my career up until recently. A few years ago, I realized that I was resisting the process of applying for artist residency programs. Not only was I still making up stories about what it would mean about my work and my trajectory if I was denied, but I was letting my fear of rejection prevent me from even applying. I'm not sure how I ever expected to get a Yes back on an application that was never sent - I started to understand that every time I let fear stop me from trying, I'm was automatically living inside the No.
Looking at it head on like that and firming up my beliefs about my work and myself allowed me to start applying. But let me let you in on a little secret: I've still yet to be accepted into a single residency program with juried application. So operating under the principle that you can't get anything you don't ask for, i started to ask around inside my network to see if I could make my own residencies.
HOW TO ASK
WHAT TO PLAN FOR