Now before everyone gets all crazy in a thousand different directions let me explain what I mean. What I mean by this is that I have long felt that being an artist is just something you are or something you aren’t. There’s not a lot of choice in the matter. I mean sure, I guess maybe you can choose to pretend you’re not an artist and try to just fit in to whatever role your loved ones or the society around you would prefer you fit in to or you can choose to honor who you are and courageously forge ahead on wherever your artistic path leads you.
Neither road is easy, which is why I think that often times its the people who love you the most who are the ones that discourage you the most (and not always so nicely). Deep down they know that the artists life is more often than not wrought with rejection, unfair judgment and financial uncertainty and they don’t want that for you. They hate the idea of seeing you suffer from those fates.
But I think that what those who try to protect us artists from ourselves don’t understand is that it hurts more to try to squeeze ourselves into a box we don’t fit in than any amount of rejection, perceived failures or financial uncertainty ever could. There is something inside us that begs to be free, to challenge, to express, to share and to live life by our own terms and if we don’t listen to that impulse we die a little everyday. It’s uncomfortable at times for sure, but any seasoned artist will tell you that all the great stuff comes from our willingness to step into the discomfort.
I was reminded of this lesson this weekend when yet again I came face to face with the pain that comes when an artist tries to live a life inside the box in order to please those they love. It made me think of the pain I felt many years ago when I was doing the same thing. I didn’t want to be thought of as the flighty one, the eccentric, the dreamer who thinks she’s gonna be able to support herself with her art so I tried, very briefly to follow what seemed the “acceptable” path but, after I picked myself up from out of a pretty deep depression, I decided to just make peace with the potential labels and treatment I might get and to just do it my way. I am so glad I did.
In honor of all the artists out there, no matter where you are on your path, I have decided to start doing some coaching. Anyone who knows me well knows I have been doing this all my life anyway so I thought “why not make a job out of it?”. I am open to doing coaching for any and all types of people, particularly in the area of relationships if you need it, but I have always had a soft spot for coaching artists on their unique journey because I have been there and know first hand what its like. I hope you’ll check it out and spread the word. My service will be called Dear Happy
Happiness is a choice, so get busy choosing.
This blog is dedicated to my Uncle Dee and his family for reasons not necessarily related to the contents of this particular blog. Rest in Peace Deecus! You were truly one of a kind.