Artist’s Statement ….Part Two

The Pale Rook

So remember that thing I applied for?

My application was successful.  I was selected to take part in a project at Scotland’s Craft Town,  the wonderful West Kilbride.   I’ve been a massive fan of the Craft Town since I first found out about it a few years ago, so I’m massively chuffed to be a part of it.  The project I’m involved in takes selected craft makers based in Scotland, at various stages of their careers and gives them specialist business mentoring and studio space for six months.   For the first time in over a decade I am being mentored rather than mentoring others, which has been quite a shock to the system.

The first meeting of the participants, organisers and business mentors involved an exercise where we had to think of things that limited our business or things that we were worried about and then we had to decide whether these things were Financial, Operational, Creative, or Emotional. I do these kind of exercises with my students, so I wasn’t too surprised when most of the participants put a whole lot of their worries, fears and anxieties about their work in the Emotional category. I didn’t because as far as I was concerned I’m not caught up in my emotional issues, not me, nuh uh. I am wiser than that.

Or not.

Later that day I had a one to one meeting with my business mentor, a fabulously astute and direct woman who called me on my bullshit within about twenty minutes.

My mentor asked me to decide how much I hoped to earn in terms of my salary, and to price my work accordingly. I did it the other way around. I worked out how much I wanted to earn from each individual piece (and other stuff that I can’t tell you about yet), then I added up how much I would likely earn over the course of a year and then once I saw the total I decided that it was way too much, that I didn’t need that much and that I didn’t deserve that much, so I’d just have to earn less.


And the worst part was that I didn’t see anything wrong with this. In fact, I thought that earning a good salary for my work was somehow unfair to the rest of the world. So I reduced the price of the thing I can’t tell you about yet and went into my meeting with a nice clear idea of how to avoid earning more than I felt I deserved.

I’m not even joking.

So there we were in our meeting and my mentor patiently listened to my stream of ideas and plans and hopes and fears about where I want to take my work and how I want to develop the business side of things.

Once I’d stopped for breath, my mentor told me that she thought my pricing was too low. I explained that I didn’t think it was. She told me again, that it was indeed way to low, and I explained that pricing it higher wouldn’t be fair to people who wanted to buy it. Then she said something that made absolutely no sense to me. She asked if my feelings about pricing were somehow connected to something within me, or more specifically if my feelings towards the people who buy my work were fulfilling some need within me.

I had absolutely no idea what the hell she was on about. Remember, I teach this stuff. I am a master at pointing out the root of my students’ issues and creative barriers and I could sort of see what she might be getting at and why what she said might have meant something to someone else, but I really had no idea what relevance it had to me.

Until the train ride home.

Here’s what I realised about myself.

I feel bad about people paying for my work because I think that the people who buy and even those who appreciate my work are somehow being duped. I keep feeling that at some point I am going to be found out to be an imposter.  I feel bad when my work is considered valuable.


Issue number one; I do not trust or value my talent.

And there’s more.

I worry that I am somehow going to get into trouble for showing off.  I feel that if I openly value my work then people might not like me.

I know.

Issue number two; please like me, please like me, please, please like me.

OK, so this is all deep down, little girl fear and anxiety stuff, it’s not up there on the day to day surface of things, but it’s still there, and in my experience the deep down stuff has a way of making itself heard in one insidious way or another.

I see it constantly in my female students. I’m sure men and boys experience it too, I know they do, but in my personal experience it’s women who consistently undervalue their work, their time and their talent and it’s women who desperately seek approval by making themselves small.

I have sat through literally hundreds of student presentations, from high school to post-graduate level and women consistently and persistently do one thing when they present their work, regardless of how good it is or how hard they have worked on it or how good they believe it to be – they apologise for it.

Over and over, throughout my career I have heard women and girls tell me all of the things they should have done differently and all of the ways they could have made their work better and all before they’ve even opened their portfolios or begun their presentation. Even when given positive feedback, they tell you how it should have been better and how it would have been better if only they had done something differently. They deliberately make it less than it is.

So about six years ago, I banned my students from saying the word sorry, and we did a little experiment. They had to present their work without saying a single negative word about it, and throughout the exercise they would have absolutely no encouragement or feedback from me whatsoever. So no negativity from them and no approval from me.

What happened shocked me. Some students weren’t even able to begin speaking. They looked at the floor, they took deep breaths, they took several minutes just to find words to begin with that wouldn’t include any sort of apology. Some were even brought to tears by the sheer frustration of not being able to criticise themselves.

Let me be as clear as possible; speaking about themselves without negativity reduced several women and girls to tears and silence.

And I hadn’t asked them to glow with self congratulation, false pride or confidence, all I had asked them to do was not criticise or apologise for their work.

I ask my students why they feel it’s so difficult to not devalue themselves. Their answers are always, always the same. They tell me that they don’t want other people to think they are arrogant. They worry that if they say their work is good, other people will point out that it’s not. They worry that if they appear to think they are better than others, then those others won’t like them.

Which brings us right back to me on the train.

Up until that point I had subconsciously believed that valuing myself meant devaluing others which would make them feel bad which would make them not like me. I had kept myself in a nice little box that would be no obvious threat to anyone and this deliberate devaluing of myself was making it’s way into my life in my reluctance to make a reasonable amount of money for my work.

The sad thing, the thing that made me furious on the train when all of this hit me, was that I knew, I KNOW that valuing yourself and your talent and your work, truly valuing your best qualities does not bring trouble, criticism and rejection; quite the opposite.

About half way through some of the student presentations something else would happen. After a few minutes of speaking hesitantly, through deep breaths and almost uttered “sorries”, something would shift.

There would come a moment when the student’s voice would even out.

Because I wasn’t giving them any feedback, encouragement or prompting, because they were getting absolutely nothing back from me, they would begin to say what they wanted to say. Not what they thought I wanted to hear, not what they thought was expected, not what they thought would make them likeable, but what they truly felt and thought.

There would be a change in tone and volume that was so moving, so utterly inspiring that I can’t even describe it to you. They would speak without apology, explanation or expectation, about what they loved about their own talent. Then they would realise that no one was laughing at them, no one was horrified, no one had stopped liking them, and that they weren’t in trouble, then their voice would get stronger and clearer and calmer.  And when they shone, something would happen to the other students in the room, and to me;  we’d feel just a little bit closer to our own value because we could see someone else connecting with theirs.

It’s worth pointing out that I have done this same exercise all over the place, with different age groups, different academic levels, different nationalities and the results are pretty consistent. About twenty percent break down in tears, around sixty per cent struggle to speak, about eighty per cent reach a moment when they begin to shine.

I would also like to point out that I would never and could never force anyone to do anything in my class. Everyone who participates does so openly and willingly and the ones who cry are the ones who hammer on through with the greatest determination because they are usually the ones who have the most buried within themselves. Just thought I’d point that out in case you had some sort of image in your head of me inflicting emotional and psychological torture on unsuspecting art students.

I could write forever about why we have all of these layers of apology within ourselves, why we feel we need to be small, to be liked, why we need to undercut our own value to feel comfortable. I won’t though because I’ve got way too much to be getting on with and I’m sure you have your own story to tell about all of the times you insisted on less than you deserved.

So go try this.

Talk to yourself about yourself, your work, your talent, your virtues, whatever you like but do it without apology and do it out loud.

It’s harder than you think.  I struggle with it.

I’ve always imagined that as an artist, I should devalue my work, that it’s up to others to see and judge it’s worth and that if I ask for just a little I won’t be disappointed when I get just a little.  After my meeting with my business mentor though, I realise that I have been seeing myself and my worth in exactly the same self depreciating way my students do.   My ideas about being a struggling artist are really just a reason to keep myself small, unthreatening and likeable.

I’m not going to suddenly increase my prices or change the way I sell my work, but I’m no longer going to limit myself in terms of what I achieve through my work.  I’m not going to prevent myself from earning more than I think I deserve.

From now on, I refuse to reduce my own value.

I’ve never been a materialistic person and I’ve never seen financial success as a goal in itself, but what I’ve realised is that until now I have seen financial success as something that I should avoid, something that I don’t deserve, something that might make people not like me, and that has limited me creatively.

So I’m not going to make myself small any more.  I’m not going to keep myself in a little box and whatever comes out of me next will come without any apology or fear of what it might achieve.

And there’s that thing that I’m planning that I can’t tell you about yet.  I’m not afraid of that thing being a success anymore.  I’ll tell you about it next time.

The Pale Rook


422 thoughts on “Artist’s Statement ….Part Two

  1. I think many of us feel the same …… Especially women artists. We were taught by society and our families too, that we were just “playing around” not “real work” or “serious work”. Male artists always seem to take themselves and their work seriously. Sometimes with no justification whatsoever!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I think there is a lot of pressure on men and boys to see themselves as strong and successful though, especially when they feel vulnerable and unsure. I actually think that this can be just as harmful to men and boys as deliberate undervaluing is for women. In my experience as a teacher, a lot of men and boys don’t feel comfortable asking for help or admitting that they are struggling, and they cover it up by acting dominant and competitive, when in reality they are feeling vulnerable. Just my experience though 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you!!! I do this all the time. My sister did as well. She was a wonderfully talented artist and never truly realized it. I hope to change.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As someone said to me recently, ‘how did you get inside my head and write down all my thoughts?’ Except I haven’t been clever enough to figure out how those thoughts have been holding me back until I read this. Thank you. ❤

    I should probably go back and strike out those words 'haven't been clever enough', shouldn't I? LOL


  4. My girlfriend just shared this and I loved reading it; as the person observing her work it’s so obvious to me what she’s worth, but equally obviously I’m the last person she’ll take that advice from!

    Hopefully hearing from a respected peer will be more effective, thank you.

    While I’m here I’d just like to wave a flag for the guys who do the same, we’re not all arrogant egotists, honest! In fact, I’m sending this to a guy who needs to read it right now…

    Thanks again, this kind of honesty is so brave and really can affect people.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Pete

      No guys are not egoists! I completely agree. I think that my male students have all of the same insecurities as the women, they just express it in a completely different way. I think a lot of men feel the need to make themselves “big” when they feel vulnerable and women tend to make themselves “small”. I think men and women both suffer from cultural norms, in this case, I just focused on my experience with women because I relate to it because I am one 😉 When I do this exercise with male students they actually tend to start off quite arrogant and dominant then even out and become more vulnerable and open – the opposite of what the women do. I don’t think this makes them truly arrogant or egotistical at all, just disconnected with their value in a different way.

      I’m so glad you liked the post, I really appreciate your comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This was like being punched!! The husband is constantly telling me to stop saying the ‘S’ word but it just falls from my mouth. I can’t help it.

    Issue 1 & 2 again – nail on the head. Thank you, I’m going to read this a few more times – it’s very powerful stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s hard to stop doing it isn’t it? I really recommend trying the no apology exercise I do with the students. You can do it on your own but you need to do it out loud and actually hear yourself. I hope it helps 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Just… Wow. A friend shared this, and I clicked on it with cynicism – thinking it would be just another article about how I should charge more, but those articles don’t apply to me because my work isn’t that good.
    So, naturally this article was a punch in the chest. I cried. But in a good way. I mean, I still feel weird like I’m not good enough for this to apply to me… But that’s exactly the point so my mind is a bit scrambled.
    Thank you for writing this. Fascinating and powerful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know what’s really weird Kate? You’re not the first person to feel like you’ve been punched while reading this! It’s really quite humbling to hear you had such a powerful response to it, thanks for telling me. Your work is beautiful, so I really hope that once you feel a bit less punched and scrambled that you’ll realise that it is that good and that this does apply to you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for stating this so eloquently. I struggle with this, though I’m happy to say I’ve made a lot of progress. Your comments on being a financial success reminded me of something. It’s important to me to help friends in need, whatever shape this takes. Sometimes major disruptions happen that need actual cash. Whether a gift or loan, I’m happy to contribute something. A few years ago, a friend was in this situation, and I couldn’t help either physically or financially. I hated not being able to actively love my friend at a time when she needed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally hear you! It’s bad enough struggling with your own finances but not being able to help those you love is heartbreaking. It’s good to hear that you’re making progress 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. thanks for this – I am having an ‘at home/open studio’ day (my first) next week so reading this was really good timing. I have been convinced that I have to give anyone who wants to buy something a big discount – otherwise they won’t buy anything – your words have helped me get my head straight on this. I will discount, but only 10% instead of the 30% /50% I was considering. And I am not a new young thing – I was a successful business woman who could ask astronomical prices on behalf of whoever I worked for…. so why can’t I do it for myself??? Art is such a personal thing and I suppose it’s because we are emotionally involved that we get so neurotic. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m the same! I can argue the value of other people and their talent and their work but it’s a different story with my own. I remember once I was at a market in London and I really wanted to buy a pair of vintage boots and while I was haggling with the stall holder I said “I’ll take them for £15” and he said “I’ll let you have them for £20” It really struck a chord with me because I’d never thought of someone allowing me to buy their product, only that I was somehow doing them a favour by buying it. The privilege of exchanging goes both ways 😉 Good luck with your open studio and thanks for your comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Pamela, I’ve just been having a look through your website and I think your prices are very fair as they are and I think your tree paintings in particular are gorgeous! Good luck with your open studio 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on e-poetry/d-lights and commented:
    “I feel bad about people paying for my work because I think that the people who buy and even those who appreciate my work are somehow being duped. I keep feeling that at some point I am going to be found out to be an imposter. I feel bad when my work is considered valuable.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It seems that ‘Makers’ (we used to be called ‘crafters’, and that was the root of the problem, I think) are finally coming into their own. “Craft” was getting a bad rap for awhile. And it wasn’t so long ago that what we do may have been devalued as “women’s work”, too.


    1. I know! It drives me mad that I can make something in silk embroidery that takes weeks of skill and patience and people are more likely to buy a drawing that took ten minutes. I actually have a theory that it a lot of people associate value with weight, as in the heavier it is the more it must be worth. I also remember Sandy Toksvig making a comment that textile artists, and female artists traditionally did not sign their work in the same way that a painter or sculptor or stone mason would, which is why we have very little idea of who the individual artists who made great textile works like the Bayeux Tapestry are. I think it is definitely changing slowly but surely thank goodness 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow. That is EXACTLY how I feel about 90% of the time. Then when I give myself a slap and price something properly(ish) , somebody comes along and says “That’s a bit pricey just for that!”. Then I’m back to square one. I always feel like can imposter. You hit that nail firmly on the head. And I find it impossible to talk about my work at all. So I’m sunk.


    1. One comment I had when I put the price on the page (I now just send them to the list on my blog instead) was ‘is it gold plated???’ – it’s incredibly hard when we put so much time and love into our work and then all it takes is one comment to make us doubt ourselves!


      1. What a horrible, passive agressive sarcastic bloody thing to say! If they didn’t think it was worth it then fine, no need to be nasty. Remember; normal, happy people feel no need, NO NEED at all to criticise and undermine other people for their own amusement. Don’t let folk like that undermine you 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Lilacmillie, I can imagine that hearing a potential customer say that would be a gut-punch. But as a non-artist (and computer geek), I can say that folks who are not familiar with the field probably don’t have any understanding of what goes into creating a work of art. But likely they ARE familiar with going salaries in THEIR field. I think the proper pricing of your work may be part of the artistic process. Best to you, excellent reply!


      1. Absolutely! I once had a colleague ask if I could knit her husband a jumper for £30! I told her it would take about a week to make and cost at least £60 in materials. She couldn’t understand why me making a jumper would cost more than buying one from a shop. She assumed that it would be cheaper to make it at home.


  12. Reblogged this on Hanging by a Thread and commented:
    Woah!! This amazingly eloquent blog post by The Pale Rook sums up everything I have ever felt about my work especially since starting to sell. Please take some time to read it, especially if you are an artist or creative. I’m going to try to NOT use the word ‘sorry’. I already get told constantly to stop saying it by the husband…it’s a very hard habit to break.


  13. Thank you so much for writing this. It has got to the root of things in an amazing way. I am asking myself those questions and the penny drops – the need to create is so strong and I enjoy it so much but I have a constant urge to give my pieces away. . . why . . because I feel I would look proud or ‘full of myself’ if I priced them too highly. Not because the hours of my work are not worth it – but I don’t want to disappoint . . .


    1. You know, for years I hardly owned ANY of my own art work because I just gave it away to whoever wanted it, and while I don’t think that’s a bad thing in itself, it’s definitely not good if you’re just giving it away because you don’t feel entitled to feel good about what you’ve created. Your work is lovely Mary 🙂


  14. This is probably the very best posting I have EVER read!! It goes to heart of it so beautifully and so honestly. I haven’t read through all the comments but I would wager that everyone who commented, or even read it, could trace everything you said back to themselves. I have had the very same feelings. I am in the ‘craft’ world which sometimes makes it worse as it is seldom considered art (even by me) and the value given upon it is always low (even by me). I am at an age where I do not work anymore and I don’t need any other income. I came to a point where I decided I would no long ‘sell’ anything, had no need to raise myself up to ranks of the ‘artiste’ and could just simply play with cloth with no self-made expectations and not a thought about what others think. I am so very fortunate that I have come to this point. Thank you so very much for your words — I know they touch the heart of creativity in our society.


  15. This really moved me. There’s so much truth there about how class and gender can affect your creative journey. I think many creative people feel they should be grateful to practice their arts, particularly if you are from a low income background, because to speak and express is the domain of the powerful. Thankyou for the eloquent reminder!


  16. Amanda Palmer, The Art of Asking. Read it, you’re going to love it. It was the inspiration to create, a book club for artists.

    Thank you for this.


  17. It’s so refreshing that after coming to terms with appreciating my art, I find your blog echoing the very thought I have quite recently embraced. Thank you for sharing and for the reassurance that it is indeed OK.


  18. Thank you so much for this. I had tears in my eyes reading it – it’s so true of myself and of lots of female makers that I know. Today marks the beginning of a new way! X


  19. A very thought provoking blog! So very true in many, many ways. I read a similar blog last year from a well known quilt artists who was ridiculed by her peers for sounding arrogant about her success. She truly felt hurt and started to doubt herself. We are our own worst enemy and should support one another in this endeavour to overcome our worst fears.
    Thank you for this and I will repost this blog on my blog with your permission of course! Best of luck with the new ‘secret’ project! Anni


  20. People can be real assholes when they feel threatened! I think we’d all be a lot happier if we didn’t see other peoples’ success as our own failure. I’m glad you liked the post feel free to repost at will ! 🙂


  21. Today, i’m going to go through the WHOLE day without saying the “S word”, and tomorrow i’ll do it again, and then i’ll do it again! They say 30 days makes or breaks a habit—i unwant the S habit!


  22. It’s really good how you not only identify the problem – the undervaluing, the constant apologising – but you move it forward by suggesting the non apologetic, non encouragement exercise. I think it’s a sort of ducking of responsibility to apologise for the work one produces. I do it. It can mean ‘I did this work but I don’t stand by it so don’t blame me if you don’t like it’. But is that just another layer of hair shirt, saying that?? This is really making me think. It’s so familiar it’s like a comfort blanket.


    1. You’re right, it really is a way of avoiding responsibility, and I think that one of the results of that is a disconnection with the value; if you don’t feel a direct connection with the piece then how can you really feel a connection with it’s value, then the “hair shirt” martyrdom keeps you in the cycle. Ooooh you’ve made my head spin a bit!


  23. That was enlightening – thanks! I’ve been on the fence about raising my prices, which I haven’t done in the better part of a decade. I finally busted out the calculator just now, and did the math on what a reasonable increase would earn me over the course of my busiest season. I’m convinced that even if people buy a bit less, and if I skip one of those markets (I’ve been taking on too much), I’ll still come out ahead. I’m doing it!


  24. Excellent post about women and self esteem and speaking about our work. I rarely re-blog but would like to re-blog this post with your permission. Thank you. xx


  25. What an insightful read! I recently realized the same thing about myself- that I was trying to ‘hide’ all good things about me, and also good things happening to me, because it would somehow be rude to others. I made a decision to stop doing that.. and it’s so liberating!
    I also think you’re right about it being more a woman thing to do that.. I was moved to write about it just yesterday, in a poem. See if it resonates with you:

    Thanks again for your post!


  26. Hello there Johannna

    Thank you so much for writing this. This resonated with me on so many levels. I was told all my young life that I would never make a living at art, and that it was pointless. My parents didn’t want me to go to art school, no one in my family did other than my Grandmother. My male tutors spent a lot of time pointing out (in the 1980s) how tough it was in the art world, and subsequently everyone else there after. So, pretty much negativity all the way. And now, alas, I listen with a sinking heart (god help me), when my ten year old daughter tells me she wants to be an artist.

    The section where you refer to being ‘an imposter’ I think struck a cord more keenly than any other. I too feel guilty about charging for my art. Because I can’t bear to part with work that has meant so much to me for silly money, I end up not letting much of it go.

    I also think that part of the problem is that the art world is all about comparison. When we go to art school we are constantly comparing our ability to that of others. In no other subject other than possibly writing and music does this happen, and it never stops. I have been a member of many art communities, and though on the one hand they are great places for inspiration, it is difficult not to fall into the trap of comparing ones own work and ability to others, and thinking ‘they are so much better than me’.

    I am now in my 50s, and though have always been confident in every other area of my life, I still lack self confidence and belief in my own ability.

    So, thank you for this. I will read and read again, and try very hard to apply your advice and build upon it.


    1. Hi Lorrie, first of all, I’ve been having a look through your site and your work is beautiful. I agree comparison is one of the biggest killers of any sense of belief in your work. I was lucky that when I studied in London I was in a very small class of very different students and we were never really compared to each other, although I remember feeling quite lost that I didn’t know how I measured up against my peers. I think comparison can be damaging on all levels though because you can always see someone who you believe is more intelligent, talented, beautiful, witty, whatever, so there will always be a way of belittling yourself and reinforcing negative feelings about yourself.

      Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing the post. I’m really touched that it’s resonated with you. 🙂


      1. Thank you very much Johanna, I really appreciate those kind words.

        When I get praise like this I wish I was drawing more. At the moment, it’s about time management (or rather the lack thereof), as I have a ten year old daughter and a husband who is away a lot. But, I am trying and have made a resolve to spend more time in my studio and less doing housework etc.

        I have added this blog to my reading list and will drop in again.

        My very best


  27. Thank you so much for such an inspiring post!

    A very talented jewellery maker and friend of mine shared it in our WiRE (Women in Rural Enterprise) group on Facebook and I know that it will inspire many of us to think about our pricing, why we are holding ourselves back and why we speak so negatively about our own work.

    Thank you again, Holly x


  28. I found this post from Arlee Barr above on facebook. I just have to say that you have explained so much about my own struggle so well, it’s mind boggling. I really just can’t tell you how amazingly good it is to read that I am not the first person to feel exactly the way that you describe. How fabulous that you give such a wonderful gift of awareness to your students and now to your blog reader’s and to me. Thank you so much for writing this. I realize too that the layers seem so deep that have kept me in this place of where, “i have seen financial success as something I should avoid, something that i don’t deserve, something that might make people not like me, and that has limited me.” I stopped before I wrote that it limits me creatively because I can be creative all day. I can paint and stitch and have a million ideas that I want to execute, so rather than limit me creatively, it limit’s all my potential for giving me a life sustaining way to live. Instead of not pricing my work high enough, I don’t take advantage of opportunities to let my own work shine or even be purchased for all the same reasons you’ve mentioned. Maybe the whys of it don’t matter, somehow I have this feeling that if i knew why I might better be able to stop it and finally stop sabatoging what I really most want to do. I am going to try your experiment with myself .. and I’m going to see what else you have to say. I don’t know if my profile on word press will take you to my blog so I’ll just post it here ps.maybe it does limit me creatively too. bless your heart for being you!


    1. Thank you so much for such a heartfelt comment. I’m humbled that it’s boggling your mind! Please let me know how the “experiment” goes for you. I found that at first it made me feel massive relief, sadness, absolute fury (for quite a while) and now it’s settled into determination with just the occasional bout of fury. Take care and thanks again 🙂


  29. Wonderful, wonderful piece and CONGRATULATIONS! I particularly loved and resonated with “From now on, I refuse to reduce my own value.”
    I’ve just had a similar revelation (which I wrote about on my blog, if you’re interested) and for the first time, I feel like I am creating freely fearlessly.
    Thank you for sharing x


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