2016 wasn't all that mean. I can wholeheartedly say that at the expense of upset and difficulty the year dished out, I along with society at large needed that. I remember waking up everyday in December, reminded about how precious my life is with the deaths of many distant acquaintances and celebrities. I see how important it is for me to live a life that I am proud of. Which brings me to this blog. Honestly. Truly. I must do this for me and the people I love. Thank you 2016.
My name is Zaakiyah Brisker. You might know me from other blogs scattered on the Internet, but if you don’t know, I write. I've been writing since Pre-K. I took to it easily because tracing symbols on a pad of paper filled me with a quiet awe like - wow, creation! Pure satisfaction with no rhyme or reason and I still feel it. And as they say, if you find something good, roll with it. So currently I'm working on my first novel entitled, Petunia. (More details on that later)
I'm midway through this novel and I’ve hit this...situation. My flow that normally spills out onto pages, sputters out sporadically, like the spurts left over in bottle of soap. I have no problems with inspiration, but my ability to join it into my mode of expression has become difficult as of lately. And I can track why.
My competitive nature as an Aries and human being has made it challenging to overcome the disease I call perfectionism. If you are a perfectionist, you know exactly what I mean.
Perfectionism is a gift - when you can actually release your creative project from your clamoring hands. For the most part and more frankly, it’s a curse because anxiety will not let you release anything that will prime you for criticism. Which is why connecting with my longtime friend, KAMPBLOOD, was perfectly timed. As we commenced in a photo-shoot for pictures for this blog, we talked about our challenges in our creative processes. Good, because I needed to vent.
I’ve stood side as KAMPBLOOD explored the many avenues of himself since I was 18 years old. Inspired by the Graffiti artists that were dominating the streets with innovative hand styles, I watched him carve out a space for himself, experimenting with different monikers and styles, from wheat paste posters of Hello Kitty to Bart Simpson dripping yellow on canvas. I can tell he’s found peace with his process and he’s producing more art now that’s he’s ever done before. To which I need to know the details. I am forever a student to life.
He disclosed his many phases, unabashed. His hindsight allowed him to pinpoint what ultimately stopped him from producing art consistently. Himself.
“I was always comparing myself to other people. I would make my art and I wouldn’t like it because it didn’t look like the other guys. Then I told myself, I have to stop doing that.”
He hit it right on the nail. I was suffering from the same. Hearing that instantly drew recollections of myself clicking through the internet, devouring works of talented artists, wondering if I could ever be as good while trying to harness their abilities for my own via Instagram. Good intentions, bad results. While it does serve for a great opportunity to research and become inspired, most times I’d end the day too discouraged to try. Honestly thinking, who needs me?
Funny because the reality is, no one needs anyone. Truth is, I need to create. I need to release. I need the art. I need me. This is how I realized how ridiculous self-comparisons are. They are not dealing in reality. It negates all of what took to get the person where they are and it abandons all their potential. Plainly, it’s ignoring one’s self as oppose to developing. Self-comparisons are not real, just a real time waster. Self-comparisons only can work if I am able to compare myself to another me in a completely parallel universe where the experiences are even and so is the perspective. Otherwise, to compare one’s self is disrespectful.
This revelation is only the tipping point. I have become mindful of how sneaky of a bastard self-comparison can be. Self-comparison is a bastard, robbing creators of authenticity and ability to express, produce and connect. A sneaky bastard because it dresses in every day life. It’s absurd how easy it is to do with abundance of brands, talent, Photoshop, eager people and amplification by social media and traditional media. One minute you’re liking your friend’s pictures on Facebook, the next minute you’re feeling like you haven’t done enough with your life. Catching this sneaky bastard takes time, patience and kindness. This takes practice over time because self-comparison is practiced and engrained. It is must be unlearned.
But here is something I use to dead that sneaky bastard that works for me. I must know this:
I cannot be someone else and proud of myself at the same time.
The only way I can be the best me is to be me.
I practice this:
1. Be patient and forgiving to yourself like the best friend you’ve always wanted.
2. Reduce self-comparison until it is none.
3. Remember that your presence is authentic, whatever you produce is already perfect.
So here I am, thanking 2016 for knocking me upside the head. Gifting me with focus on what I would like to see and do. 2017 is going to be full of love and creation. I look forward to sharing my lessons and adventures with you. Peep below for more photos from our photoshoot. It was actually raining. We stay out and did our thing, even when my fingers went numb. All photos below are taken by KAMPBLOOD.