My name is quietfanatic, and I am afraid of failure.

It's not really about people seeing my failures. Rather, I fear that if I fail at something, it'll be a waste of the time I spent trying.

Time I could have been spending on The Masterpiece.

I don't know what The Masterpiece will look like but I've always been determined to make it. Compose it. Program it. Tell it. Whatever.

Maybe one day I'll learn that the masterpiece is me. Or, even better, I'll learn that I don't have to create a masterpiece. What is the point of living if I don't make something grand? What do I really want from life? What does God really want from me?

I don't really know, but what pops into my mind is "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for a friend", or "I desire mercy, not sacrifice". Things like that. Those venerated in the church as saints are mostly people who famously sacrificed themselves, either in one glorious moment of martyrdom, or through a whole life of service. Obviously if God calls me to sacrifice myself gloriously, that's what I'll have to do, but as an introvert and a (I hope) creative person, I feel like my strengths are more geared towards sitting invisibly behind the curtains and glorifying God in the way that I am made to.

Anyway, there are the revered saints, yes, but there are also those who draw icons of those saints, and write about them. And about other things; overtly religious art is not the only art blessed by God. Whether I create art or I myself am the art, it needs to have that blessing or it won't really matter. It shouldn't need to be a "masterpiece", whatever that even means.

I heard this saying recently, through a few layers of indirection. When you sit down to draw an icon, before you make the first stroke you have already failed. Why? Because there's no way you can convey the true divinity of Christ through paint on a canvas. At the same time, before you make the first stroke you have already succeeded, because the icon is a holy work inspired by the Spirit, no matter how imperfect it ends up. I still don't quite understand this.

What was even my definition of success to begin with? Popularity? Changing the world? Satisfaction with my work? Being helpful to the most people? Pleasing God by doing everything just right? Simple happiness? I don't have a solid definition. In fact it's kind of incoherent. It's not even an "I'll know it when I see it", because I probably won't.

Whether I like it or not, God has given me the power to decide what to do with my life, but he hasn't given me the knowledge of what constitutes success or failure, if that even matters. So, I think the only fair thing is to say, I'm gonna do my best and live my life how I'm gonna live it, and whether I succeed or fail is his responsibility, not mine.

That's what I'm telling myself. I think it makes sense.

So, to cure myself of the disease of perfectionism, I need to take up a hobby I know I'll fail at from the get go. I guess I'll learn how to draw, in a basic fashion. Or rather, I'll unlearn how to not draw, because as they say, every child is born an artist. I won't fall back on pixel art; I've done that, and it's too easy to be perfectionist about it. I mean real high-resolution hand drawing, which is actually impossible to perfect. What's more, although I've drawn a little before, I will never ever be as good as somebody who's actually put in the requisite days and years.

The imprecise world of drawing is quite contrary to my personality, as a programmer and an aspie. I have put a lot of stake in doing things perfectly (in factI typed this whole post front to back without a single spelling or grammar error (until that one just now, oops)). But. However little confidence I have in myself, I have confidence in my own neuroplasticity. Ten years ago if you had told me I'd have a clean room, you would have been crazy. But that is the room I now live in. I am also successfully learning Japanese. I'm nowhere near fluent yet, but I have already advanced farther than I imagined I could when I started. So, if I can have a clean room, and learn a foreign language, then I can learn to draw. I can learn to be imperfect. Rather, I can learn to not even think about perfection or imperfection.

That's what I'm telling myself. I think it makes sense.

This is the first picture I drew after making up my mind to start drawing. I can see many large errors, but I'm surprised that the proportions aren't that terrible, and it's not too flat. I'm having trouble thinking about the volume of objects in three dimensions, but I'll get slowly better at it with lots of practice.