A Fantastic Discussion of Fear

I recently transitioned from coloring pages to drawing mandalas.

Mandalas' drawback is the appeal to such a small section of people. They all look happy-feely, hug-a-tree trippy. And while that's a good time, I wanted to explore darker, more complex emotions. I thought, "Wouldn't it be fantastic to spark discussions on difficult experiences we can all relate to?"

I researched a bit on how to draw mandalas. It starts with a polar grid, to help the design stay symmetrical. From there, it's pretty much a free-for-all.

For my first one, I decided to use just pencil. I started from the center, sketching an outline one layer at a time. When I finished the skeleton (as I called it), I went back to the center and added detail and shading, again one layer at a time.

I would stare at a section of the page until it showed something to me, then I would draw what I had seen. I felt kind of oblivious through the whole thing. I didn't know where it was going. I thought it would just be abstract shapes. My subconscious, evidently, had other ideas. 

Here's the final piece:
Revelation of Fear

I'm still shocked by it. By the time I got to the barbed wire, I had thought it some kind of prison...until I drew the arrows pointing out. Adding those arrows terrified me. With their presence, it changed from a prison locking something in, to a fortress keeping something out.

I'm curious to find out what you think or feel when looking at it. For me, this image brings fear and sadness. For a few days, I didn't know what to think. I wanted to detach myself from it. This wasn't me. This isn't my life. It must be about someone else.

But honestly, it pertains 100% to my current situation.

I want to do this art, but I'm terrified of where it leads. I'm afraid it will get no attention, afraid it will get too much attention. Artists across all fields struggle with this dichotomy, the tension between wanting others to see their art and fearing the vulnerability such sharing brings. If I share this with you, you'll understand something about me that I don't understand myself. It reveals a weakness I don't want you to know I have. You might love it, or you might decide I'm crazy.

Here I am, struggling with these very concerns as I debate whether to share this or whether to put it on a shelf. Here you are, reading up on my uncertainty. Right now, I feel exposed. Right now, I'm afraid. I'm unsure about where this endeavor will lead me, whether to start another mandala, what it will reveal about me.

I'm certain everyone has, at some point in life, struggled with whether to trust someone, whether to let vulnerability show, or whether to appear strong and steady. How often does fear inhibit our full potential? How often is our need for acceptance a detriment to our creativity?

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