Sunday, March 6, 2011

Next Step

I know I need to set a date for the next Sauerkraut Dinner Party and invite people, but when I think about doing it I have an incredible anxiety, so I keep putting it off. It sucks. The anxiety makes me feel sick to my stomach at times. It makes me wonder why I choose to make public art when I have so much anxiety about organizing people and events. Why don't I just build objects alone in my studio and ship them to galleries so I don't have to interact with anyone?

I know why of course. I do this stuff because I want to learn to be a part of a community and to build community. I want to get over my social anxiety. I want to let go.

When I was growing up I didn't fit in. I was ostracized at school. At the beginning of high school we moved from New Mexico to Ohio. In high school I finally started to find a group of friends in the cross country team. One weekend I decided to through a pizza party (we were only in 9th or 10th grade, we hadn't discovered beer yet). I invited the whole team, both the guys and the girls. My guy friends on the team showed up, but none of the girls came. I felt so embarrassed. I was mortified. The party felt like a failure.

Now when I throw these potluck dinners at my house I have this terrible anxiety the whole afternoon before the party starts. I sit there worrying that nobody will show up. The odd thing is, once we discovered alcohol later in high school, my place became party central. I lived on a farm. The nearest neighbors were a mile away. We would have camp fires and tents behind the barn or in the corn field and my parents couldn't even hear us. It was great and I didn't feel anxious at all.

But I think the difference was it was never just me throwing a party, it was always my friends and I organizing it together because I had the best place for parties. I don't have any partners in what I am doing now. That sucks.

Just bringing people together doesn't make it a community art project. I need to let go of this mode of working in isolation and get other people involved on a deeper level. Allow others to also have ownership in the project. That will mean opening up and letting people in.

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