Here is an open letter to my kids and any creative eyes out there… I stand in my studio and listen to gun shots and bombs go off as the battle of creative control forges on in my head. I catch the enemies editing and critiquing before I even begin. Exhausted already, I have to march on. Perhaps it doesn’t matter what art or craft practiced out there this war might be real across the land. I have observed this creative battle and tension for as long as I can remember. It has only calmed down with practice, grace and a few reminders that the process has got to start messy before it gets clean. Surrender.
How to surrender? I don’t know exactly. But I have followed some clues. The moment I enter into this vulnerable messy paint flinging stage is when the critics want to start marching in. Ms Fancy pants Editor and Ms Snobby Critic were not invited into this first messy drafts. Oh but they want to attend this party. So, I will picture them, talk to them and sometimes say with great exclaim, “get the f bomb out of here, go back to where you belong” but I’ve also noticed that when I have a deeper sense of belief/faith in my task in the moment and ‘hear’ their voices they begin to fade. Recognizing that there will always be resistance in some form, and in some ways expecting it to come diminishes it’s power tremendously. Belief. Acceptance.
Believing in ourselves is scary and putting our hearts and art out there can feel even scarier. Self promoting myself is freaky and uncomfortable because it feels exposed and I sometimes hear myself say, “what’s the point, oh here she is bragging again, stay humble and direct attention to others, dread..how will I handle haters…..” However, i think these insecurities are often lies that keep us from the good that is waiting for us on the other side of the spilling open process. I believe walking forward into your truth and authenticity and into unknown territory is worth the risk if you choose to live the life of an artist. Faith.
Art not only begins with the physical manifestation of mess but emotional mess as well. When we spill open and have faith in the process, the good bad and ugly parts of our inner workings release and start to reorganize themselves helping us get past the fear of the unknown. We have to leap off the cliff and stop waiting to be discovered and start believing in our messes, what ever that is. When we stop waiting for somebody to save us, discover us, give us the answer, publish us, give us the time, represent or what ever the …”if only then” is in our life we will say goodbye to those fears and start believing in the nagging feeling inside that says create create create in some form. I believe when you take that leap and start your messy creative thing doors will open. Give yourself the permission to create a small something messy today. Try. Bump along.
The world needs to see you, the world needs to hear you try, the world needs to experience your vantage point. A world with out a multitude of perspectives, paintings, colors, photos, sculptures, poems, novels, jokes, expression is a bleak environment. I know you have something unique to offer from the deep down inside of yourself. I have met many artists and most of them wrestle with excuses and disbelief in the themselves. But together we must try and believe. Collectively we must share this faith so we can teach and exemplify the necessity of expression, art, creative needs to the generation of artists to come. For my sweet son and daughter. Cradle this side of yourself, the toddler or teenager that just wants to write on the walls and claim their space in life. You deserve that space. Don’t wait for someone else’s permission to write on the walls of your own life. Maybe that’s how it worked in school but I have experienced real life doesn’t work like that. Create your art first, follow your heart first, then observe the doors and opportunities that start opening. Masterpiece.
Will you let your critics hold you back from living your truest self? Maybe. But I hope not, for your sake and mine. Each one of us is a masterpiece and we all start messy inside and fear can’t have the power or the right to take that from you. There is an abundance of expression waiting to be born and exist in the world. Shout it. Post it. Share it. Please get messy. Just don’t hide it.
……..Jealousy can be your friend. But you can reinterpret jealousy instead of letting it continue to stir in your gut and give you the millions of excuses to hold back. Jealousy often screams it’s not fair they get to do that and I can’t. They have it (or seem to have it) so easy. If only I were them. If only I had… Everyone has these thoughts and you are not alone but learn to use them as flag posts and recognize them as your body and mind saying, Hey listen, I think I really want to try that someday. Many people who have succeeded in their creative journey have all fought hard against the creepy fears inside themselves. Your not alone. I’m not alone.