In almost any situation in life (and in art), I will stand behind the motto “be who you are”.
This can get a little bit complicated, as I’m sure you know. Most of our adolescence is spent learning how to act and how to present ourselves in the right light, in order to be on the right path. We learn to play the part of success because that is what everyone wants for their child (and for themselves). The problem is that success comes in infinite shades of grey and as we grow older, it gets more difficult to tell which shade is our own. You can spend your whole life trying to become some picture of perfection you had implanted in your head and suddenly realize one day that it is not you at all.
Cath and Lar inspired me by their sweet and simple lists of goals for the rest of 2013. There may not be that many days left in the year, but that doesn’t mean we should just resign to complacency until we’re coerced into having resolutions. There’s no better time than now to begin working on the everyday awesomeness of life. Do what you can and don’t feel guilty about the rest. Here are my own little goals to complete before the new year…
The year of 2013 has been quite a doozie for me. I’ve had three different jobs and teetered back and forth between “my dream is to become a full-fledged professional artist” and “god, I really want to be able to buy this pair of boots”. It’s driven all of my friends and family crazy, I’m sure, but is also completely necessary for me to move forward. Underlying all of the insanity, my ultimate goal (which maybe I’ll see a glimpse of by the end of the year) is to navigate the roads to achieving balance. Balance between being practical and being a risk-taker, balance between being a homebody and a busybody, balance between listening to others and listening to myself. Balance between art and life.
Art and life have always been at war with each other within me. It’s always been, choose one or the other. Be great at one or the other. But I’ve never been able to give up on either and so I’ve been struggling, pulling both of them along at once, sometimes equally and sometimes not.
Being in your mid-20s can often feel like you’re on a long-ass road trip with an unknown destination. At times it looks like freedom, nothing tying you down or stopping you from where you want to go. Each city passed marks the progress you’re making and every bit of the journey makes the trip feel precious and all the more worthwhile. Other times you wonder if it will ever end, if you are even half-way there yet, wondering how long it will be until you find peaceful stillness and a comfortable bed.
This has been the story of my life for the past three years…
Catch-up dinners with close friends are a wonderful thing. Sometimes they are just casual and fun and other times they become some of the most inspiring and motivational conversations you’ll ever have. Last night I had one of the latter kind with a friend who’s known me since the beginning of college. She’s seen me be everything from ridiculous to amazing and seems to always understand the beauty in the things I do. Pretty priceless, huh? We got into a discussion over our current states of restlessness, almost drowning in our desire to make our dreams manifest into reality. She read aloud to me Linda Holmes’ article on NPR, Hey Kid: Thoughts for the Young Oddballs We Need So Badly. I highly suggest you read the entire thing, but here are a few of my favorite parts.
The fact that nobody is doing what you imagine doing is the beginning of your idea, not the end. People want to read things that haven’t been written, see things that haven’t been made, and hear things that don’t yet exist. Don’t be discouraged when you don’t see yourself reflected in what’s being shown to you, let alone what’s being heavily marketed to you.
Everything worthwhile has a strong feeling in it, which means if you’re going to make great stuff, you’re going to have strong feelings. This is part of why people associate artistic types with moody outbursts or temper tantrums or lying around saying, “Oh life!” And it’s sort of true.
Out here, we are already waiting for you. We are already anxious for you. Out here, we want to see your stuff. Don’t get me wrong — some of us will disappoint, reject, confuse, misunderstand, mislead, or even exploit you. (Not the good ones of us on those last couple. But some.) But we want to see your stuff. Keep going.
UGH. That is SO good right? Of course after reading it, I’m thinking “I wish I had written that,” but more importantly I wish I had read that when I was younger. The world is prime for our individuality to shine if we allow it to. If we believe in our original thoughts/ideas/creations and put them out there and exercise them, who knows what will happen. And the beauty is in our possibility, our potential. We – meaning I – need to stop trying to arrange ourselves to be reflections of icons of success or cultural importance and instead place priority on becoming a genuine and unfiltered reflection of the inner creator.
I’m usually spouting one-liners or quoting inspirational pins about how to chase after and believe in your creativity. While I fully stand behind all of that motivational media, I sometimes forget that creativity permeates everything and dreams do not solely entail artistic pursuits. Thankfully I was reminded when I read this blog post by Lisa Jakub. She cites a Thought Catalog article on “drones” versus “dreamers” and shares her distaste for the negative connotation often given to more traditional 9-to-5ers in the world. The dictionary definition of a dream is a strongly desired goal or purpose. There are no other parameters, no right or wrong, and no mention of any social norms. All that matters is the instinctual feeling of wanting a certain life for yourself.
I’ve lived most of my life on the fence between my creative self and my intellectual self. The latter was of course always touted as the more likely moneymaker of the two, yet here I am slowly dragging my feet through the mud of being artist. While this is a valid and worthwhile choice, I cannot pretend that I am above or any more enlightened than others who would have chosen the other way. If I had desired to become a doctor or if I had desired to major in technology, I would have done it to the best of my ability and that would have been just as admirable as what I am doing now.
While I’m always gushing over other traditionally “creative” individuals – artisans, choreographers, designers, chefs, etc – today (and hopefully moving forward as well) I would like to congratulate those who pursue the dreams that are not so directly related to my own. To the doctors, lawyers, accountants, scientists, teachers, and everything in-between: I appreciate your dreams more than I can ever say. It is your creativity within your chosen profession that keeps the world functioning, growing, evolving. Your mark, while it might not a visual one done by hand, is a thing of beauty as well.
So if you enjoy what you’re doing, if you are living out your desires… keep doing that, whatever it may be. Have faith in the value of your dreams and allow that to be your guide. (Now it’s time for me to peace out because I’m getting cheeezy).
[ image via tumblr ]
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To those of you who have been following my blog/facebook/tumblr/etc, thank you SO much for your support. It’s been great to receive all the words of encouragement and to connect with others going through similar life experiences.
As much as I love sharing my adventures in Atlanta, I’m going to cool it on the posts for about two weeks and see what happens when I just focus on drawing and living life. I really do enjoy blogging and all the social media that comes with it, but there are times when I feel like I’ve become too disconnected to actually experiencing what is going on around me. I’ve been spending too many minutes thinking about hashtags, content, followers, and the like.
I’ve been taking it slow with the whole art thing, but it deserves my full attention, even if only for a short period of time. The plan is to allow myself to get sort of lost in the process and see what happens. Hopefully, I’ll end up with a new little collection to share with you!
Thanks again for checking in and stay tuned to see what unfolds next…
My life has been riddled with fear of failure and self-doubt of my talent, despite all the evidence of my success. But thanks to divine luck, I have a best friend slash life coach who has a never-ending arsenal of encouraging words of wisdom. During my visit to see her graduate, she was actually the one giving me source for life inspiration. She handed me three books by Sark and asked me to choose one of them, as a gift to take home with me. I chose The Bodacious Book of Succulence: Daring to Live Your Succulent Wild Life.
For this week’s Love Yourself Linkup, I present to you my favorite excepts from this motivational read paired with pictures from a study abroad trip I took to Ireland about five years ago (I still yearn to go back).
A succulent is a plant that gets its nourishment and water from the inside – it replenishes itself.
I wish for you the ability to self-replenish, to be juicy, ripe, filled to over-flowing.
We deserve to be the caretakers for our spirits and dreams, and this means truly sensing and listening for our most alive route.
Step back into the light of your creative purpose even if you’re not sure what it is.