Family anecdotes portray me as an incredibly confident and creative child. Uncles and aunts would travel an hour to enjoy my evening puppet shows, I opened several shops around the house and taught in various schools, with many diverse students successfully graduating, everyone from stuffed animals to my 3-year-old brother and his friends. Above all, I (and by I, I mean the two owners and all the employees) ran a highly successful pub in our backyard - it's still going strong to this day thanks to my niece. Fun times!
Then I became a little more self-conscious and, around 10 years old, inhibitions started crawling in from my peers and the wider world. Looking back now and observing young ones around me, I now see that it's perfectly ‘normal’ to succumb to this pandemic as we enter adolescence, it being the real hotbed of inhibitions. I just lived with these confining feelings for a time, before finding a bit of helpful escapism in my teenage years when I discovered the wonderful world of Jane Austin. Surely, if I don't belong to modern society (in my mind) then I don't have to conform to it, right?
And so, for a time, I had an amazing time wandering around in Budapest every afternoon wearing rosy dresses (I only wore dresses for many years) and hoping to meet my Mr. Darcy was my main mental hobby. Analyzing my diaries from those years, it's undoubtable that I was very happy, even though it wasn't real...
But really, is the way we see the world ever truly 'real'?
When I outgrew my period of heavy romanticism, I was ready to confront the situation with some proper self-help methods. It took a conscious effort throughout my early 20s to outgrow it all, supported by the hundreds of university exams and many adventurous trips. Complete with all of the surprises those entail alongside, hopefully, a gradual spiritual development. A few bold moves also helped to speed up the process, such as auditioning to a Musical Theatre and joining an Improv club. It’s thanks to all these comfort zone exercises that I now handle stressful situations with a great deal more serenity and grace than I ever could before.
This is rather handy, given that Graphic Recording is a practice of unapologetic presence. My vocation is a great mindfulness master; if the Inner Critic takes the stage while I’m capturing a live event, I might as well just drop the pen. The voices of insecurity would be louder than the speakers I’m meant to listen to, and it’s only with intense focus that I would be able to capture the essence. Though it might not be so dramatically obvious elsewhere, this applies to all of us, no matter the field.
The fewer inhibitions we have, the better our work, our relationships, and our lives in general.
This Pandemic of Inhibitions stops us from reaching our potential.
A part of me wishes to go back to being a teacher, if only to provide children with exercises which open them up and dissolve their fears. When I was an Art & English teacher, every lesson plan was designed with an element of self-awareness and comfort zone widening. I hope to one day have the space and opportunity to work with people towards this type of inner freedom. Until then, I do my best to sprinkle some lightness wherever I go and to whomever I encounter.
We waste so much of our energy on our inhibitions. If you get to work against this pandemic in your current career, whether as a teacher, a creative, a carer, manager, leader, or whatever it may be, great for you! You are what I would call an essential worker.
I'll leave you with this quote from Jim Carrey:
"The purpose of my life had always been to free people from concern, like my dad... How will you serve the world? What do they need that your talent can provide? That’s all you have to figure out... The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is. Everything you gain in life will rot and fall apart, and all that will be left of you is what was in your heart."