I seem to be undergoing one of my periodic crises of spirit, where I begin to view myself in as uncharitable a light as possible and see only failure in my past, grimness in my future, and a fat, ugly, drab and old loser in the mirror. The eczema isn't helping with that last one.
Anyhow, I know from experience that the way to handle these troughs in the surf of life is simply to ride them out, teeth gritted and whistling an ironically happy tune. Lord knows what sparks these. Could be chemical, could be environmental, could be causal. The result is the same - a nattering and unflagging internal criticism of everything I do, and how I do it.
Now, don't get me wrong: I firmly believe in having a healthy and strong ability to self-critique. There is nothing more sad than an artist - or anyone, for that matter - with heaping gobs of unearned self-esteem, delusions of adequacy. My sister used to joking call people like this "pronoid," and that seems to sum it up quite nicely. If you can't look at what you've done and who you are with a questioning eye on a constant basis, you'll become stagnant.
The quest for personal growth is very important to me; sorry, I'm a child of the 70's. But when that tool for self-improvement gets cancerous, watch out: your self-worth becomes devalued currency to yourself. You cease to be able to do anything, and that's no good at all. If you're so crippled by self-doubt that the act of picking up a pen or guitar or brush leaves you feeling unworthy and slightly dirty, then it's time for a reevaluation - usually from outside sources that you trust.
Of course, I don't get depths that deep anymore. I conquered a lot of the RISD-based artist anxiety a few years ago, and I'm always in love with my musical ideas (chalk that one up to the self-delusion part). What's on the chopping block this time around is just me. The personality that is "Dave Kopperman," capitalized and trademarked. So, excuse me, that would be:
He's a weird dude, that one. Bossy and self-important, harshly judgmental yet unable to accept criticism. Nosy and lacking in any sense of empathy, yet still willing to hand out advice and to treat his own advice as if the receiver would have to be an idiot not to see the rightness of it.
Etc., etc. As you can see, the inside of my head is a dreary place to be this week. Apologies. Ignore me. It'll pass.
Still: I did manage to somehow convince Yesenia that I was worth spending a life with. So maybe I'm not entirely beyond redemption...