The critics all told Van Gogh that his work sucked too, but he didn't change his style to suit their expectations, or make compromises to be more acceptable. Not that I'm of Van Gogh-caliber, but I can certainly learn from his actions and the work he produced.
So this week I made the decision to put everything the critics in Chicago said about my work into my mental trash can and go back to the track I was pursuing before I threw all my stock into their opinions.
Back in Chicago I tore half of this painting off the canvas in a fit of rage (after one of the critic's comments I got), but never had the heart to throw it away. This week I spent some time cleaning it up and working on it and I think it actually works better now than it did before:
I drank ginger ale from a wine glass and I don't think anyone even noticed that I wasn't drinking the same stuff they were. I wished my German was better than it is, which made me feel a little awkward because they all kept switching into German, but other than that everything went well. I forgot my backpack there, but can't blame it on being drunk... I simply forgot it.
I wished I could have left the party earlier, but it didn't feel appropriate. I stayed and helped with the dishes, and when everything was cleaned up I left.
In retrospect it was no big deal, but I was stressed about it before I went. I was sure I would cave in and get drunk – this was my first social outing as a non-drinker and I couldn't imagine what not drinking at a party would be like. I wasn't about to turn the invitation down because I need to have a social life, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't apprehensive.