what no one gets
I am a perfectionist.
What this means on the surface is that I strive to do my absolute best. Doing something only halfway isn't good--it must be all or nothing.
What it actually means is I'm never satisfied.
At my age, virtually anyone else with talent--particularly an artistic/illustrative talent--would have a massive portfolio that would be the envy of the neighbourhood. At my age, I have a massive portfolio of deleted material, with that amount growing on a daily basis, made worse by my divided, mutually exclusive interests.
Even of what I still have stored, I have hundreds of pictures that, should I get around to going through them, I will no doubt throw away. Some of them I might redraw if I like the basic composition, but most of them will meet the recycling bin. On my hard drive, I have at least fifty half-finished image files, at least two of which are comics; several files of tinkering with electronic music; a half-started "'I'd like to see you do better!' Alright, I'll do better" video experiment abandoned out of principle [and laziness]; and a partial game translation I stopped because I really struggle with the language. There may be even more than that I'm forgetting, but at least seventy-five percent of it will be deleted if still left unfinished by the time I'm ready to do another backup.
I don't know what in particular keeps me from just accepting my past mistakes, besides that they're mistakes. I do learn from them, yes, and it's perfectly natural to have done things in a less-than-ideal fashion. However, showing them to the world feels like airing dirty laundry, and I believe there is a time and place for that--the place not being the Internet. I hate the over-large forehead on that character. The perspective is wrong in that scene. I didn't do research on what that thing she's holding was supposed to look like, and it shows. Whatever the reason, I would rather throw it away and start over than spend a lot of time trying to salvage something I don't like in the first place.
The benefit of having thrown everything out is I don't have to worry about keeping track of it all. The crappy scribble I did on a napkin over dinner at Chili's one night? Negligible. The joke I drew in someone's book? It's not mine to fuss about. Furthermore, a small but higher-quality portfolio makes it look more impressive to someone not familiar with my work. How many of Leonardo da Vinci's works do you know? Jan van Eyck's? Raphael Sanzio's? By throwing away the junk, the quality average goes up and makes me look better.
I do feel as though I do better when I take my time, anyway. My discarded works are countless, but less than a percent of them were of a level I would still appreciate today. If you were to show me something I had drawn ten years ago, I would cringe in horror to see all the mistakes inherent within it. [I do that even with something I drew last month!]
Nevertheless, it is a constant struggle to force myself to come to terms with who I am--not as an artist, but as a person. The Internet makes it all too easy to feel worthless by comparison for not having done more with my time, but in my most rational moments I can only realize that there's no race, no rush to get where I want to be. Yes, it may be embarrassing to "only" be working retail and struggling to create content for three websites [at current] in my spare time and at the same time still feel that I'm enjoying my time and not killing myself with guilt over this and that. I'm only human, though, and what matters most to me is that I do what I want, and well.
Not perfectly, however, but close enough to it.