One of the Twelve-Step recovery slogans that empowers me to become the person and artist I dream of being is…
“Act as if!”
Simply put, emotional health often results when you practice a particular character trait you want to possess. Even if you feel quite the opposite, shaking in your shoes, you “act as if” you can take that college class or resist that co-dependent reaction. You dare to do something that changes your world.
The job interviewer locks eyes and you “act as if” you are the perfect person for the task. Whether your struggle is mustering courage or pursuing change, this slogan infuses the wherewithal to take those scary steps.
For the developing artist, our “act as if” resembles “pretend until you are.”
One of my first mixed media projects I tackled incited panic because it included oil painting and other techniques I gleaned from Kelly Rae Roberts in her book, Taking Flight. These were new skills that proved challenging.
I titled this mixed media collage piece “Pretend Until you Are” because that’s how I felt as an inexperienced mixed media collage artist...like I was pretending.
The model is my daughter, Andy. She is a theatre arts lover who taught me to relish every aspect of this art form from scripting and stage positioning to theatre make-up and costuming.
I used Andy’s face from my favorite photo of her because it provided the sassy look I wanted, which is an essential element needed when you pretend until you are. It takes an unabashed courage to dress up in the character you’re seeking to be, whether a writer, artist, photographer, dancer, or actor etc.
So the next time you want to be someone you’re not or do something you’ve dreamed about doing, remember to “pretend until you are!”