Monday, August 15, 2016

Perfectionism entering the fair

I had a hobby whereby I entered something in the fair every year, usually trying a new category, too. Last year, I missed. I might have missed the year before, too.

But this year, fair entering time perfectly coincided with my summer class ending and my fall classes not yet starting. So while I was still used to putting concentrated work in after my regular job, I made some crafts.

I enjoy being creative and making things that look nice. But I also don't like messing things up. The duct tape purse had some sticky moments, but turned out mostly a success, with one particularly annoying error, but I literally ran out of that print of duct tape and was not going to buy more (assuming I could even find it again). So the error persists. But maybe the judges wont notice.

Card making was a little more difficult. I would put off starting working on it because I didn't want to mess things up. And when you are sticking things together, sometimes you get a re-positioning option, but other times the paper is too thin or the glue/tape is too sticky. And then, some of those times, it doesn't go down like I want it to. But I managed three cards and might finish one more tonight or tomorrow before I enter them in the fair. I had to keep reminding myself that I needed to risk mistakes if I wanted to make something nice.

Then, being particularly ambitious this year, I wanted to enter photography, too. Now, this category is especially tricky, because cost enters the picture. I printed out a landscape picture. I really liked it on Saturday. Today, only two days later, well, it is nice, but I am more doubtful that it could win anything. I also printed a photo of stuffed animals, which I carefully set up and repeatedly took pictures of, finally choosing one. It is fine. Might even be good. I think the competition was a little less in the still life category than some of the others (aka landscape, flowers, and such), so I might have a shot. I printed each of these two photos only once, and purchased mats for not too much. Totaling around $9. Not great, not horrid.

And then there were photos of my guinea pigs. First, I cropped two pictures too small so that they were enlarged too big, so that they were not crisp on the details. Cute, but not very good. Then, I was like, no, I'll just stop now. I don't need to enter guinea pig photos. I'll be content not entering them. Then I changed my mind. I really wanted to enter them. I didn't want to regret not entering them, like I regret not entering a photo of baby goats last year (or the year before; I forget). So I reprinted one, not blowing it up any more than necessary for the size specifications for the fair. Still not clear and sharp, and it wasn't centered right. So I took half a million more photos of my two guinea pigs. But unlike the stuffed animals, they moved around and got irritated and one even got snippy with the other. And they produced animal red-eye often, when I used the flash, but were usually fuzzy when I didn't use flash. They don't exactly stay very still unless they are sleeping, and they tend to sleep far from each other, while I wanted them together. I kept trying to choose between detail and good composition, but I was unsettled, so I kept taking more pictures. Finally, I printed another one. It is sharp/clear enough. Very nice that way. Composition is so-so. But then, when taping it onto the mat, I was very slightly off center, which worsened the composition balance. Frustration mounting, I tried to pull it up, knowing it almost certainly wouldn't work. I stopped when it started to tear the photo. So now, not only is it off balance (slightly), it also has a tiny tear (most people probably wont notice). And when I tried to press it down with my fingernail, I added a line... (again, most people probably wont notice). And one of the guinea pigs is sporting purple eyes - basically her version of human red-eye, although the angle produced purple. So this photo of my piglets, which is sentimentally the most important to me, isn't quite right. I guess I could spend two and a half more dollars trying to get it right, but when do I stop?

So that's me tonight. Anxious about tiny details. But what if that tiny tear costs me a ribbon? (Who cares that much, really?) And it being off balance, what if that bothers me for the rest of my life - I mean however long I decide to hang it up for? That is a bit silly, because I actually don't care that much if my pictures are hung straight. So it is really an artist issue, not strictly a positioning issue. Not that my anxiety issues care too much about the difference. They seem to jump on any opportunity to build anxiety.

On a positive note, I was super anxious about two hours ago. And it finally receded! And now it is building again. Stupid anxiety! Do I take my as-needed medication or not? Because you are supposed to teach yourself that you can get through anxiety, like I did earlier this evening. But on the other hand, if I take the medication, I'll probably be more relaxed well into tomorrow. Like probably into the afternoon. My theory is that it cuts the anxiety build up, restarting me more thoroughly than just sleep, so that I have several hours before the anxiety rebuilds to the more irritating level. My other theory is that it is like taking over the counter pain medication for a headache. Yes, I could usually live without it just fine. And sometimes I do. But other times, I let myself take the medication in the hope of temporary relief. And I don't grill myself and debate the matter (well, not always) like I do with the anti-anxiety medication.

Ayeyey. I'm a little surprised if you are still reading. Thank you. I was hoping that writing this out would help me feel better, but no. I'm still wondering, pay more money at another shot at centering the picture, even though the picture itself will never be exactly centered? Or let it go? Maybe I should take that medication and see how I feel about the photo after it is working. The irritating anxiety would have to get in the way of my fair entries. Grrr!

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