The one staring at the sky, the one who finds it easy to over analyse, the one dancing at bus stops and trying to keep the butterfly ideas to themselves despite how they try to escape. Hello. I had to start this blog with a greeting: something kind, something gentle, something familiar. A way for me to say, though you may be busy doing other things, that I see you. And dear, old friend I have a message for you. One I have been deliberating how to say for some time.
To the creatives: take care of yourself.
I know you know this. You don’t need to hear me (vicariously speaking through your subconscious or not). But after looking around and realizing that the last few months left some of the strongest people I know staring with vacant eyes and scraping their knees on the
floor searching for their soul, I thought I’d pen this down.
I know first-hand the struggles of being an all around “different mind”. Someone who is a little bit more ‘emotionally awakened’ than you should be in a world like this, and I think that’s why I’m reaching out to talk to you. In our present day it’s as though art is largely misunderstood. It is processed and packaged, cheapened and commoditised or made extortionate. And that can be hard on those who are in the process of creation. It can feel as though what passes as art-like is designed to suit the tastes of the corporate minds and there is no space for you.
And it is a justified feeling. Just the other day I was delivering a workshop in a very prestigious school and I listened as a teacher described the current educational environment as “exam factories” and I do not disagree. If from youth our creativity is sanded down to fit a system it’s not hard to see why imaginative people are misinterpreted when dullness & repetition are preferred. Because dullness and repetition are easy to manage. But I applaud you. Those who, because of individuality, are not easily managed.
And art is destructive. As if it isn’t hard enough to be ridiculed by the outside world for outside thinking! I battle, more publicly now than I did before, with anxiety and I know very well that I am not alone with that. “You are your own worst critic” the faceless ‘they’ often recite. But that isn’t always a bad thing. The process of
is the only cycle I never forgot how to ride.
But over the years (and more recently in the months working full time in the artistic industry) I’ve felt myself have to grow. I’ve observed those around me trying to do the same. I’ve relished in the accomplishments of others (and ever so often, felt it for myself). I love to big-up personal triumphs. But this industry is about praxis. It is about reflection, adaptation and development.
And a creative soul has a bitter pill to swallow with every reflection because art is so personal. And the desire to just give up is stronger than my dad’s rum punch but (here comes a reminder) don’t.
But you are saying things, in your own way, people would rather censor and that is your power. And that gift is often described as “sensitive” and misconstrued as “weak”. But what it is, is strength. A fluid and flexible solidity. A bravery to feel and to try to explain that feeling. As my bestfriend has said to me before “Artists aren’t frail, they are seeing more than you are.” And I would say all creatives whether in coffee shops, business suits, or paint splattered pajamas see things and vulnerably offer their interpretations up to scrutiny. And that’s pretty cool, even if it is heart-sinking when others don’t relate.
Speaking of power, I like orcas a lot and I learnt in the documentary Blackfish that the part of their brain dedicated to emotional capacity is much more advanced than that in human brains. And isn’t it cool to think that maybe one day creative people will be the cause of the next step in emotional evolutionary development (or maybe just the thing that keeps an aspect of our humanity in check). But that could just be me.
So please know: It’s fine.
It’s fine if you don’t like your work for now. (Like I said, it’s all about praxis.)
It’s fine if people don’t like your work now. (Those that need it will find it.)
So give yourself the permission to be kind. To each other and to yourself. And take time to celebrate yourself and the community that supports you.
Remember we need your brand of art in this world. Afterall, you don’t know what impact the thing you offer is having. You don’t know who is helped and developed by your words, your art, your project. And you can’t necessarily see what world you are helping to shape simply by being brave enough to create & share, but I can see you.
And in between the permission to be kind, do the things that keep you safe. Do the things that keep you stable. Earthling life is hard enough.
Love yourself. Love your art.
I light incense. Some dance at bus stops. Look up.
Do you without apology and validate those butterflies in your mind.
Image by: http://mamiverse.com/burning-incense-tips-81403/