I hate when things don’t turn out the way I want them to. 
I use the word hate because it’s a strong word, and it corresponds to how strongly I get swept up in the disappointment of something going awry.
a·wry
adverb & adjective
- away from the appropriate, planned, or expected course; amiss.
This is bad when it comes to making art because often I’ll have a mental image of what I want something to look like, and then the actual thing that I end up producing may look totally different. 
It can be frustrating.
In those kinds of moments, the word that best describes me is “peevish”.
peev·ish
adjective
- easily irritated, especially by unimportant things
I get peevish about non-art things too. I’ll be on vacation and it won’t live up to all of the expectations that I had going into it. It’s not better. It’s not worse. It’s just... different.
It’s kind of like what happened when I first got married. I had a lot of expectations going into it, and things went... different.
After the marriage ended, I was left in a state of not expecting anything from life. That sounds super depressing, but it’s not quite as bad as it sounds. I wanted to live a full life, but I wanted to stop going into everything with a lot of expectations.
For awhile, I stopped hoping for things. I stopped hoping that things would turn out for my good. I did this in an effort to avoid pain. If I didn’t wish for anything, then I wouldn’t be let down if it didn’t happen.
Flash forward to today, and I’ve learned that this isn’t sustainable, and it doesn’t make for a very enjoyable life.
Through meditation and therapy, I’m learning to have healthier expectations and to hold those expectations a little looser. When something goes awry, I’m learning to lean into whatever happens rather than push up against it in frustration.
When I’m designing a poster at work and the first 5 drafts don’t come out the way I want them to, I take a deep breath and just observe what’s happening. I do my best to embrace the way things turn out, and then take the next step forward.
When I plan out my to-do list at the beginning of each day, I hold on to it loosely, knowing that the future contains mysteries. I will have to roll with the punches and make adjustments on the fly.
When I’m drawing and the image on paper doesn’t match up with the image in my mind’s eye, I try to sit with it and embrace whatever happens. 
I try to be more versatile.
ver·sa·tile
adjective
- able to adapt or be adapted to many different functions or activities

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The other day I was explaining to my therapist that I didn’t know what I believed anymore. Not about everything, but about some big things. 
I told her how I once had a lot of ideas and beliefs and expectations about God, Death, and Morality. I told her that these expectations use to bring me a lot of comfort because I could use them to explain away things that made me worry.
wor·ry
verb
- give way to anxiety or unease
If I was afraid of dying, I could take comfort in the fact that everything would be okay because I was a member of the one true faith and I would end up in heaven.
If I was facing a difficult decision, I could take comfort in the fact that things would probably work out because God was on my side.
But now, I see things a lot differently. I’m open to a lot of different possibilities, and I’m currently not holding on to any of them tightly.

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About a year ago I was walking around in Fort Worth, Texas. I saw a sign on a warehouse that said “Beware of Dog”. I thought it would be interesting to buy some “Beware of Dog” signs one day, cut them up, and remake them into “Beware of God” signs.
be·ware
verb
- be cautious and alert to the dangers of.
This idea sat in my planner for a long time, but I finally executed it the other day.
I logged on to Home Depot’s website, looked at their Beware of Dog signs for one that I thought would work, verified that the signs were in stock, and then drove to the store. 
When I arrived, they were out of stock of all of the signs. Frustrating because I expected them to have what I needed.
Next I tried Lowes. Their website indicated that they had plenty of signs in stock. I drove to the store, but they too had none.
Next I tried Northern Tool. I was informed by an employee that they didn’t carry Beware of Dog signs at all.
Lastly, I tried Walmart. They had Beware of Dog signs, but they weren’t quite the kind that I was hoping to find. 
By this time I had wasted over an hour, and I was tired of trying to make reality meet up with my expectations. So, I leaned into it and just bought the only signs I could find. 
I returned home and cut the signs up. I had to try a variety of glues and tape before one would actually stick, and voila... I had a Beware of God sign.
The project went awry, but I was actually okay with that.

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In my first semester of college, I took a filmmaking class. One of the projects was to create an avante-garde short film.
a·vant-garde
noun
- new and unusual or experimental ideas, especially in the arts, or the people introducing them
I thought for a long time about what I would create for this project. In the end, I made a 4-minute film of a young woman smashing a microwave with a pickaxe all because it burnt a bag of popcorn. 
Peevish.
The first 2 minutes of the film consists of the woman throwing the microwave off of a porch before then smashing it into pieces. The remaining 2 minutes is simply the same footage but played in reverse.
Invert. Revert.
This was not the short film that I expected to make. It was weird and defied any clear explanation. The class, including the teacher, loved it.
Ever since this project, I’ve had a fascination with the abstract. 
Most of the stuff I make is abstract, and most of the art that I enjoy is abstract.
The young woman who starred in the video was my ex.

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My Beware of God sign now hangs beside my desk and serves as a sobering reminder of several things. It reminds me that the concept of “God” can be dangerous. But it also reminds me that things don’t always turn out the way we think they will...
Because of this, I should beware.
I shouldn’t stop expecting, but I should “be cautious and alert to the dangers of” expecting.
The word “beware” is closely related to an older root called “wer” which can mean “perceive, watch out for”. Interestingly enough, this root is also where we get words like...
Awry. Peevish. Versatile. Worry. Avante-garde. Invert. Revert.
All of these things have a lot to with the unfolding of events. The unfolding of things that are not yet certain. 
If there’s anything that I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that a lot of things are uncertain. Will this marriage last? Will I go someplace else when I die? Will God turn out to be a thing that is actually real? Will this piece of art I’m trying to create turn out the way I intend? 
Will the next store I visit actually have the right kind of Beware of Dog signs?
I do not know the answer to any of these questions, but I can choose to respond to uncertainty in a variety of ways.
I could be peevish (easily irritated, especially by unimportant things.)
I could worry that things will go awry (away from the appropriate, planned, or expected course). 
Or...
I could embrace the avante-garde. The new. The unusual. The unexpected. The things that come out of left-field. The things that just don’t make any sense yet.
I could become versatile. Able to adapt or be adapted to many different functions or activities.
Different possibilities arising out of the same common root.
"What's really needed is nothing more than a broad sense of what you are looking for, some strategy for how to find it, and an overriding willingness to embrace mistakes and surprises along the way. Simply put, making art is chancy—it doesn't mix well with predictability. Uncertainty is the essential, inevitable and all-pervasive companion to your desire to make art. And tolerance for uncertainty is the prerequisite to succeeding." - Art & Fear
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