META: ... or maybe I'm just hungry

Looking forward I see vastly different versions of 2019 based on the outcome of this grant process.

For the past few days I’ve been very hyped about it, forceful and forward thinking, planning to shape my life around this massive (for me) undertaking. I’ve been making plans, solving problems, imagining worst-case scenarios and laying the mental groundwork for back-up ideas so that setbacks don’t involve wholesale emotional collapse and defeat.

I’ve prepared myself for the possibility that I won’t be able to rely on skilled help for much of the fabrication and will do a lot of the menial metalwork myself. I’ve accepted that my illustration skills are not fantastic and started training my hands and eyes to be up to the task of painting 56 huge images on my own.

But as my hype grows, as my vision grows, as my grasp of the undertaking grows, my budget estimation doth also expand. Each time I clarify a detail, it clarifies at least one expense, and probably reveals one or two others. And then as those details become “locked in”, adjacent pieces come into focus, and I have to google how much those are going to cost me. And then I have more of the project mapped out and explain it to someone new and they ask intelligent questions and I explain other parts of the installation, and remember something else I need to add to my budget.

I’m not working with real money yet.

I’ve spent $20 here and there for test supplies. Brad has placed a couple orders for parts in the same range, and I’ve worked with similar quantities of dollars before, and even ten times as much, but now I’m looking at spreadsheets that have line items nearly 100 times those $20 personal investments. With hypothetical money.

But it’s more than hypothetical money, it’s potential money. The org deemed my initial application worthy of a more detailed look! There is a non-zero chance that I have a shot of being funded. Or maybe I had a non-zero chance at my initial price point, but my new, detailed, insightful math is less funder-friendly.

There’s a place in my mind where I’m confident I’m overreaching, that what I offer is no longer worth what I ask. When I visit that part of my mind, that potential future, there’s a sense of relief. Not in the sense that I was afraid of success and it’s safer and more comfortable to be rejected. I’m not the kid in class who’s unprepared and afraid to be called on to perform.

I’m proud of the work that I’m doing. I’m confident in my vision and feel I can rise to the challenge of taking it on. The feeling of potential relief at being passed over comes from the same place where I don’t care so much about dating anymore. I want romance, but I’m not going to compromise my values to get it. In both cases, I know who I am, and I’m speaking my truth, and being as realistic as possible about what I’m capable of and what I’m worth.

On small projects I have a habit of undervaluing my time and abilities in order to get the gig. So there’s a temptation to do it on a larger scale, too. I’m tempted to lowball my costs, price the scrap i hope I can get instead of the material I can find and rely on.

I want this grant. I want it bad. I might not get it. Part of my brain wants to close the door on this project after my application is submitted and live as though it’s a done deal, never to be. Another part wants to keep pushing as far as I can, planning and preparing so I don’t feel behind the ball if I get the green light at the end of February. Keep sourcing, quoting, networking, gathering resources.

Either future is possible. Either future is okay.

I am amused how on-theme this post is.