Shit Committee

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Blog - *looks at the title of this entry* 'Shit Committee?' *looks at Carol*
Carol - 'Yeah. That's what I call the nasty little voices that live in my know, the ones who tell me that I'm not good enough, that what I create won't be good enough and that what I have created is not good enough.'
Blog - '?'
Carol - 'I think anyone who does anything creative has their own version of a shit committee. It is something we don't have as children but that definitely comes with age and it is made up of a combination of our own fears and doubts as well as things that others have said to us. Sitting round the conference table in my head are: Chair of the Board - Mr 'You're not talented enough to get into Art School'. He opened the doors to the meeting room and made himself at home when I was about 15. He then invited Mrs 'Yeah, it's ok but not as good as...' who became Vice Chair and she was joined by Director of Operations Mrs 'You won't be able to do that so you might as well not even try'.'
Blog - 'Blimey'
Carol - 'Indeed! All I ever wanted to do was to go to Art School. I won a big prize for my art when I was 5, wrote and illustrated my first book when I was about really was all I wanted to do. I asked my teacher to help me prepare a portfolio and he told me that he didn't think I was talented enough to go to art school. I spent a year trying to put together a portfolio with no guidance what-so-ever and unsurprisingly, I didn't get in. I was told that I had been badly let down by my school who had done nothing to develop my talent but I didn't hear that fact I didn't even remember them saying Mum had to remind me of it a couple of years ago! What I heard was 'You're not good enough to get into Art School' which cemented what I already 'knew'. I went on to do a degree in Fashion Design and Business which wasn't what I wanted to do and I hated it.'
Blog - 'It's amazing the impact and actions one person can have on another isn't it'
Carol - 'Yeah it really is! I believed that I was rubbish...and I didn't draw or paint anything for years afterwards. I was lucky though because I found something else I loved and was good at. Mrs 'Not as good as' still flourished but Mrs 'You won't be able to do that so you might as well not even try' shortened her name to 'You won't be able to do that' which was quite a big victory for me.  I managed to get a 1st Class Masters Degree in Organising for Social and Community Development despite fact, I even wrote about them for one of my classes...although not quite in those terms' *laughs*
Blog - 'So how come you are now working as an artist and illustrator? How did you get from social research to what your doing now?'
Carol - 'You know we lived in Bangkok for two and a half years don't you?' *blog shakes his head*  'No? Well we did. Lovely husband was offered a job over there and it was such a wonderful opportunity that we had to go for it! It was a no brainer really! But it also meant that I wasn't working so wasn't earning any money. Lovely husband's birthday was coming up and, rather than buy him something with his own money, I decided to draw something for him. I can't begin to describe the joy I felt to be drawing again...and once those floodgates had opened there was no way of shutting them again'
Blog - 'I know I tease you about your arty farty ways but I am really glad that your passion for creating returned'
Carol - 'Me too. The only problem was that those floodgates didn't just open up my creativity...they also opened up new places in the Board Room. Mrs 'You can't change how we do it...we've always done it this way' decided to come on board as joint Chair and she was joined by Mrs 'But that's not really a proper job',  Mr 'You charge HOW much?', Mrs 'My kid likes drawing and painting too and it looks just like yours' and last but not least Mr 'I'm going to stand here and tell you what I don't like about it and even though I am no expert you should listen to my opinion and change what you do'.'
Blog - *looks shocked* 'Do people actually say these things to you?'
Carol - 'Oh yes. ALL the time. Some of the committee you can kind of block out...they are the ones that have signed up but don't always attend the meetings...others are a lot harder. Mr 'Your not good enough to get into Art School' is always there but I am getting a lot better at challenging Mrs 'You can't change how you do it' and Mrs 'Not as good as' doesn't hold nearly as much power as she did.
Blog - 'And you think all creative people have a version of this that lives in their heads?'
Carol - 'Everyone I have ever spoken to about this has their own version. There are some of my committee that sit on others too, Mr 'You charge HOW much?' and Mrs 'But that's not really a proper job' for example, but others are unique to that person. If you are creative and don't have a Shit Committee then you are very very very lucky!'
Blog - 'So what made you decide to talk about this subject today? When you sat down I thought you were going to tell me about the oil painting course you were just on'
Carol - 'I decided to talk about this because the tutor of my course burst through the doors of my Shit Committee's Board Room, marched up to the table, looked straight into the eyes of Mr 'Not good enough to go to Art School' and said 'She is very talented'. She scowled at Joint Chair Mrs 'You can't change how we do it' and told her that I was to keep going because she had never seen anyone use the oil paint the way I did and then she glowered at Mrs 'You won't be able to do that' and said 'I think she might have discovered a new technique'.'
Blog - 'She sounds awesome'
Carol - 'She is! She studied at the Slade School Of Fine Art, has worked as an artist all her life and really knows her stuff. She not only kicked my Shit Committee's backside but she's given me the confidence to turn off the heating in their board room, replace their comfortable chairs with old rickety ones, get rid of the biscuits and give them crap coffee. They may have won many battles over the years but I'm still fighting and I WILL win the war!' *looks at Blog* 'Where did you get that suit of armour? And will you please stop waving that sword about!'
Blog - *looks a bit sheepish* 'Sorry, I got a bit excited by the whole war analogy'
Carol - *rolls eyes*


  1. wow.... I too have a shit committee, but with a slightly different twist based on my childhood and ridiculously complicated relationship with my parents. On the outside - iydillic childhood, nice standard of living, private school, holidays, nice clothes, nice house....etc... for all that I was unhappy at school and struggled to find a school where I fitted in. I don't think I ever did... Anyway - my shit committee is Mr "You've done OK but it's not good enough", Mrs "It's never quite good enough", Mr "I'm going to control everything you do", Mrs "you keep letting us down". There seems to be an over-riding qualification to be able to be in this committee - the disappointed look, deep breath and head shake, followed by an deep sigh and "oh well, it's the usual story - never working to your full capability".

    Teachers, parents.... both as bad as each other. As a parent myself I understand that frustration and encourage my kids to work hard and teach them that the more you put into something, you more you get out of it. If I feel they can do more I tell them that what they have done is really great, but wouldn't it be fab if we....[insert suggestion for todays homework of choice]. It seems to be working.

    However, I am now on the cusp of turning 40, still terrified to tell my parents about things that haven't gone well, terrified to tell them of things I'm not proud of and - if I'm being honest, scared to tell them about the good stuff too... because it will never be as good as it should be.

    Actually, now I think of it, I doubt myself every single day. Am I doing a good enough job of keeping the home running/doing my job/looking after my other half (who has had a really rough run of luck)/raising my children/being me.....

    I have read your post on a day where I've spent most of the day at my desk fighting back tears of frustration, exhaustion and just feeling utterly overwhelmed by trying to keep going. The concept of a shit committe has really hit home, and for that - thank you.

    PS: I'm also pretty creative, and also have a whole other shit committee just for that.... good on you for winning a battle... the end of the war looms ever nearer :) keep going - I really like your work xxx

    1. I am so sorry to hear that you feel this way. Must be awful difficult trying to be all things to all people and constantly feeling that you don't measure up. That Shit Committee really does make everything worse doesn't presents fear as fact and tells us that we 'know' what's going on in the minds of others when in fact we don't. Your right though, we do have to keep fighting and challenging them because they lie and we have to stop giving credence to their words. I find reminding myself of the good things that I do, and have done, quietens the committee and definitely helps with the winning of battles. *hugs*. Keep chipping away at them...I have every faith that you will win the war! C x

    2. thank you xxx you have hit the nail on the head - being all things to all people really sums it up. It's utterly exhausting even on the days when the shit comittee seem to be having a day off... we will ALL get there!

    3. We will!! So hang in there! C x

  2. I think most of us have our own Shit Committee, and it's actually quite refreshing not to feel alone in that. I did go to Art School, but to be honest my Shit Committee just followed me there "What are you doing here? I think you've come to the wrong place. You'll have no useful qualifications when you leave") Love this blog Carol and would love to read more. And from someone who worked with you briefly, and has seen your work develop over the years, I think it's about time you sacked them all. They obviously don't know what they are talking about. You are fab, and you truly are an amazingly talented artist xxx

    1. Awww, thank you so much for saying that hon! (I want you to know that I'm currently fighting the urge to say something along the lines of 'Not too sure about the amazingly talented bit' lol...damn that Shit Committee and it's years of training!).

      I think no matter what I had done it would be there in some shape or form. As you said, yours says 'You came to the wrong place. You'll have no useful qualifications' and mine says 'You'll never make it as a 'proper' artist cause you didn't go to Art School'. I think the lesson is that the Shit Committee will always find a way to make us feel shit no matter what path is trodden.

      I totally agree...I think every Shit Committee should be fired or, as my friend Carol over on FB suggested, be re-branded as 'Shit = Da Bomb' lol. I could have members such as Mrs 'You can totally do this', Mr 'That looks awesome' and Mrs 'That's ok. You're allowed to make're learning a new thing'. I can live in hope lol. C x

  3. You know all about my shit committee, so I don't need to go there. That you for blogging about this very real and crippling subject and when you're finished with your tutor can you point her in my direction? Xx
    And well you know how awesome I think you are. You're my favourite!

    1. I do know all about your shit committee and I hate that someone as totally wonderful and talented as you are has to struggle with one of your own! It's not fair is it! They always know just which buttons to push and always do it at the moment we need it least! Yup, that combination of our own fears and unthinking comments which add weight to those fears is a killer!

      Thankfully I have wonderful friends like you who not only understand the battle but help me fight it and I hope the more we talk about our Shit Committee the less power it will have over us!

      You are one of THE most talented people I know. If I can battle my Shit Committee and start to win then you can too...we'll form a posse and together we'll win the war! Love you hon.

      C x

      Ps. I removed your other comments. For some weird reasons Blog had decided to post the same one three times! *rolls eyes* You just can't get the staff these days...

  4. Good grief, Carol, you're not only an amazingly talented artist, you're also at serious risk of turning into a rather good writer! Practice really does make a difference... this is a terrific post that brings the whole problem to life in an amusing and vivid way. Great content, great style. I'm sorry you've had to put up with the shit committee, but - like all horrible people - they're compelling to read about!

    1. Hahahaha...I actually had quite a lot of fun writing this post which is a bit weird considering the thorny topic! It did feel rather cathartic and I'm surprised at the response it's had...both here and over on FB.

      We all have our Shit Committee's and we rarely talk about them so they stay there in the Board Room gossiping and spreading their lies. The only way to deal with them really is to shine a light on them, do a file audit lol, and realise that they were never qualified to give that opinion in the first place! They just bullshitted at the interview lol.

      I took your advice by the way. I wrote to my tutor to say thank you and got THE most wonderful e-mail back. Mr 'You're not good enough to get into Art School' is now cowering under the desk :-D. Thank you. Mwah.

      C x


Carol is quite happy talking to herself but I think it does her good to have an ACTUAL conversation once and a while! So if you would like to leave a comment that would be incredibly nice of you...think of it as a public service ;-)

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