My husband asked me, he was like, “How’s it feel? How’s it feel to walk with proper posture?” And I was like, I feel braggy. I feel like I’m boastful, like I’m like, “Look at me! I am here!” And he said to me, it was amazing, he said, “You know, you shouldn’t have to apologize for the amount of space that your body naturally takes up in the world.”
Most of us know Jenna Fischer best for playing the delightfully charming Pam Beesly on The Office. She was even nominated in 2007 for a Primetime Emmy Award for her work on that show. Fischer has enjoyed a quietly successful career over the years, landing guest spots on such shows as Spin City, That ’70s Show and Cold Case. These days, she stars as Lena on the ABC sitcom Splitting Up Together.
She says that when you slouch and slump, you go about as if you are apologizing for being there. Your body language affects your mindset, just as much as the reverse is true. That’s why so many self-help gurus and life coaches encourage their clients to try “power poses.” The idea is that if you strike a confident pose, you’ll actually feel more confident.
So, she actually took a class to learn about proper posture and that’s how she arrived at the conversation with her husband above. And he’s right. When you’ve got your shoulders slumped, you may blend into your surroundings more and you may get pushed around more too. I know that I’ve experienced this myself. And while claiming the space your body naturally takes up doesn’t have to go so far as with “manspreading,” it can change how you interact with the world (and how the world sees you).
Similarly, I like to tell young artists, “You don’t need to apologize for the amount of space that your artistry takes up in the world. Please give it. We need it. We want it. You don’t have to walk around afraid of expressing your art.”
I think a lot of artists are sometimes like, “I have an idea or I have a character, I want to try something, I want to make something or I want to do something.” But then there’s the voice in your head that’s like, “It’s probably not very good. I don’t know. Forget it.” And then you just sort of become this person again.
Sure, a certain level of self-doubt is healthy. Smart, even. And there’s a good chance that you’ll fail at a lot of what you do, especially as an artist. It just comes with the territory. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Art is about experimentation and pushing your boundaries. It’s about trying something new. And new things are always unclear, uncertain and unpredictable.
You might not know what you’re doing and you might not be so sure it’s actually any good, but no one else knows what they’re doing either, despite what outward appearances may lead you to believe. So, you’ve got to do it.
What creative experiment will you attempt next?