I’ve had a long drawn out “epiphany” (if one can call realizations that take years to percolate and come to the surface an epiphany). The realization: that I’m not who think I am, I don’t even want to be who I think I am and who am I to being juding me anyway?!
All of this has arisen from making a commitment to my art. That’s right…I’m not putting quotes around art anymore. Because I finally (mostly) realize that I am an artist. Okay, gulp, that felt a little weird. But I said it and I’m standing by it. Because what does that even mean? Is there really a set of rules, validations one has to accrue, approvals one must seek to then be anointed as an artist? No, I don’t think so.
I think being an artist means you want to create stuff. You may want to create it because it expresses your inner most thoughts and feelings. You may want to create it because it evokes a thought or feeling. You may want to create it because you want to make something beautiful. Or cute. Or whimsical. Or weird. It’s all up to you. To be an artist you have to make stuff. If it turns out to be what you want to call art…cool. If it doesn’t then you’ve learned something. I can guarantee that every failure has a lesson to teach and be learned. Or not. You can beat yourself up and tell yourself that you’ll never produce anything you’d be proud of…nothing that you’d feel good about. Because you’re sure that “everyone” will think it’s ugly, strange, stupid, crude…wrong. But how would you know? Can you read their minds? Have you showed it to everyone? Isn’t just you saying these things to yourself? Aren’t you the voice that says that undermining and hurtful thing? Give up? Yes…it’s you.
So I’m stopping. Stopping as often as I can. As often as I notice. And I think you might want to stop too.