I'm a Fake
I learned a lesson yesterday after pre-recording an episode of Blank Canvas, a radio program on Guardian Radio in Nassau.
I was asked to return as a guest on the radio program to talk about the Exuma Arts Network, our partnership with the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, and upcoming Inter-island Traveling Exhibition (ITE) coming to Exuma. The ITE brings a segment of the national permanent collection to the Family Islands across the Bahamas archipelago. When I was asked to join the show, it was to be hosted by the Outreach Manager, who I had developed a professional relationship with and we had already interviewed for the show before, so I was quite comfortable with her. Right before the prerecording, the host of episode as well as the guest speakers changed. I would be on the show having no prior relationship with anyone and it was to be recorded over Zoom. I became very nervous. I doubted my experience. I doubted by skills. I doubted by knowledge on the topic. I completely doubted myself. So what did I do? I went into research mode. I listened to every archived episode of the Blank Canvas to pull information and ideas from other artists, educators, professionals in the Bahamas art community. I felt they must know more than me. Right up to the moment of recording, I was absorbing the words of all the big players of the Bahamas art scene.
When it came time to record, I was nervous and uncomfortable. I met, for the first time via Zoom, the new Executive Director of the NAGB, as well as the interim host. During the discussions, I was "talking", but now I realize, it wasn't really me. The words coming out of my mouth were other people's words. I used other people's words because I didn't think mine were smart enough, good enough, or what the audience and my fellow guests wanted to hear. I was present but my voice was wearing a mask. I was faking it. I was a copy cat. I was pretending to be someone else, doing the same thing when I was a teenager when I lacked confidence, which was pretty much all the time. There were moments during the interview when I did speak my own ideas and they were met with nods by the ED, who was the only other person who had their camera on. That's all I needed to give me encouragement, to signal that I was saying something that resonated with my peer. After the interview was over, we all quickly left our screens, and I mulled and agonized over the conversation for hours.
Meditating at the end of my day, I acknowledged that I sabotaged my opportunity to shine by not trusting my self, my own words, my own thoughts and opinions. I don't need to fake my successes or experiences or accomplishments. I've made it through my life with enough security that others support my goals. My words mean something, they matter, the have value. I am good at what I do. I need to stop faking it because I'm worth and deserve the light that shines on me. I am trying my best to live the life that I am meant to live. Which means, I'm still going to have my days when I sounds like a blabbering fool. And to that, I make no apologies.
Now, let's hope the editing fairies make me sound competent. And no, I'm not going to tell you when the episode airs.
The artist, as she prefers to be seen, hidden behind her work.