Why I am (not) an artist and how to deal with the Imposter Syndrome and Perfectionism

If you allow me, I would like to take you back to the late spring of 1987.

There is a 24 years old woman, who studies at the Academy of Art in Arnhem. She's wearing 50's style clothes, red lipstick and purple spiked hair. 

She's standing in the middle of the Art & Culture Department of a Big Book Store and stares at the books about The Great Artists: Picasso, Louise Bourgeois, Van Gogh, Rembrandt. You've probably recognized them as the Real Deal in Art.

Of course, this is about me. I'm having a fit of Full Creator Angst. Because it just hit me: there will never - not in thousand years - be a book with the title: "Esther de Charon de Saint Germain, the Seriously Great Artist of Our Time"


Because I'm not good, special - innovative - borderline - out-of-the-box - focussed enough. To me, the foreseeable future is "a little attic where I will work on yet another tiny assignment. Never enough money. Never enough really special ideas."

Within a week I drop out of Art School (in my fourth year...) I pack all my art supplies in boxes, throw away everything I created and move to the University of Amsterdam to study Art History, Communication Science, Modern Asian History, Philosophy and Indonesian Culture and Language (focus was never my strong suit),

And that was the end of my career as an artist.

And the end of creativity....or so I thought.


The purple hair has returned to its original dark brown - there's some grey in it. I'm wearing a black dress, red nails, red lipstick and I'm sitting in the waiting room of a hospital and can't stop crying.

Because after 27 years I realized that you cannot stop being an artist.

This is the good crying. You know the kind: it's the crying where you tilt your head slightly so tears follow that special road -> corner of your eye -> cheek -> hair.

Unnoticed healing tears.

My heart was doing happy salto's, and all I could think was:


So.... what happened? 

For 27 years(!) I had  been living in the shadow of my Creator Angst! All the ugly pitfalls. Trying to blend in. Working in the field of arts as an organiser, consultant, art director, copywriter, curator.... but never as "The Holiest of All Professions: The Artist".

There had been so many attempts to find an outlet for my creative urges: buying a sewing machine, because I wanted to sew be-aut-ti-ful bags. (Has anyone ever seen my - beautiful super special no-one has ever done this before I think I'm gonna faint - bag? That's because I never made it.).

The pearls and beads I bought because I wanted to make the most breathtaking necklaces anyone ever set eyes on. But stopped making them because: "E-VE-RY-BO-DY makes necklaces. It's just not special enough."

The pens, pencils, brushes, paint I bought and immediately shoved in some drawer because: "I'm not an artist and I refuse to do some random doodling."

I know ... it's not a pretty image! 

You know that one moment when you stare at a puzzle? It's almost finished. But you just miss that one piece that will bring everything together.

Really understanding my Creator Archetype - the shadow and the light -turned out to be the single piece that lifted the veils, so I had a clear view of the Big Picture. And this is the Big Picture:

You cannot suppress your true calling.

Keep your heart and mind open for the Miracles that will lead you to the Magic Stuff you're supposed to do.

Of course my hunting ghost voices still call out to me: "Doooooon't do it! What will people think? You are not good enough! If you finished Art School, well maybe....but you did not!

Tell no one! Who are you to declare yourself an artist? When is someone an artist? The real artists will think you've gone bonkers!"

But when I'm not listening to the ugly voices it feels like utter bliss.

Like I've grown taller. Go and check it out: I AM AN ARTIST

So here's my question to you: what are you supposed to do in your life?

Do you listen to the ugly voices or to that deep inner voice?
Or do you want to Come Home to your Creative Soul?

Get your free Creative Starters Kit

Esther de Charon

Esther de Charon de Saint Germain is the Business Doula and Soul Whisperer of brave female entrepreneurs who want success on their own terms Esther is the author of "The Wonderfully Weird Woman's Manual" a Brand Expert, certified Transformational Art Coach, Artist, Communication Consultant, Art historian, Huffington Post + Thrive Global Blogger with over 25 years experience in the field of branding, design, creativity and art. She lives with her 13-year-old son and husband on an old farm. She's also addicted to Jasmin Tea, Opera with seriously bad endings, Weird Art and Red Lipstick.

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