I've been thinking a lot about this post that I want to write, that I've wanted to write for some time to myself when I am lost, to newer artists starting out, to those in comparison-ruts.
Jesus is it SO easy to do, dig yourself that comparison rut and walk the miserable path every day, a sad haggard dog-artist hell-bent on being as ________ as ________ is
as we know
is never going to happen.
It's been a while since I've forgotten my own artistic beauty
because I've got this kid, see and they take so much time and energy that when I get into the studio
I don't give one single fuck about what anyone else has made or sold or blogged about
I just put my sweet little head down and get to work like it's….
well, like it's my job.
Which it actually has been for nearly eight years now.
My beloved job.
That is the first comparison death-knell you hear ringing in a minor key somewhere out there.
If you have one working for someone else you've either got so much confidence in the balance of it all that you don't give a rip about what anyone else thinks
or you're feeling like the solution is to someday get out of that 'dead end' and be an Artist.
Let me just take a second to reminisce about the glory of personal interaction
that being a receptionist gave me.
The warm, soft-lit places I further brightened up with my welcoming smile -
if you know me you KNOW I meant it,
the smile and the greeting.
No matter how much work I did I went home on time
and I was given a pay check no matter how that work was perceived,
no matter how I showed up for it.
Someone else paid me to support other people's dreams.
But before I accepted it I ached about it.
I would actually threaten all kinds of things to my boyfriend at the time
if I couldn't be an Artist.
If I had to stay in this job I'd _______ myself.
I was really young and really frustrated
and really selfish.
And I thought myself much less than my friends whose music careers were on fire.
I was Less Than.
I think that's where the pain comes from, from the perception of superior and inferior and
our collective inability as constantly evolving creative people to just simply and regularly take a minute to breathe in the beauty of what we just made, regardless of how anyone else received it.
You can have a day job your entire life and still create a body of work any master would be proud of. You never need to worry about how the bills get paid, so your freedom is vast though your hours logged might be a bit less.
You can be a full-time artist and do the same, or you can squander your hours away not feeling worthy of your situation, self-sabatoge at its finest.
It can feel difficult to create consistently and well and make a living as an artist
but once you've begun doing that (which is a small miracle!!) there are still comparisons to be drawn
if you're into that sort of thing.
There are a million more hoops to demand that you jump through.
Are you human?
Then you've maaaaaaybe compared yourself at one time.
You've looked over at other work and sighed.
Then you've likely sniffed around someone else's Etsy shop
and wondered how they've managed to craft their work and promote so beautifully that
they sell out in seconds.
The rough truth is that if you do these things and think you'll use a pre-owned dream
to further your own, the world is cheated of the greatness you've got, the greatness
completely unique to your hand and heart.
Don't waste your time being lazy. Time is the most precious commodity.
What if you smashed all the business models someone else laid out?
What if you took the time to set a new standard?
What if your path was so fresh and bright that you felt like a continent was discovered?
What if you embodied your own brand so fully that they could not be separated, the maker and the made?
What if you meditated on your future art?
What if you took those two hours tonight to sit quietly at your bench/stool/lathe/whatever
until something sang "Make me"
like Patti Labelle?
What if the world were richer with possibility than your tiny mind could conceive?
What if you ended up opening to that which made the universe
and it guided your hands through the process of the most ultra-cosmic brooch/table/belt/song/shoe/mailbox/yoga pose
And what if it all started
because you decided right now to celebrate the current situation,
no matter how awesome or shitty it is?
To say "I am here" with total acceptance and the spirit of an adventurer.
To maybe believe that failure is just a door way
or that mistakes are ways that Mystery softens our hard
in order to help us heal and create?
What if you were enough, you with your meh-ass day job
or your shop where nothing sold at all
or your failing brick and mortar?
What if you decided to own it all and move from this single moment,
listening closely and gently and passionately for the next instruction
from some celestial book?
And what if you took delicious and powerful action
over and over again
until there was momentum
I ask you these things in the spirit of artistic comraderie
I believe that there is enough ______ for everyone
and I so badly want for you to live out your finest creation
as fearlessly as possible
and with as much wonder as my child talks about the moon
I want to make art along-side other thunder-and-wonder-struck souls.
I am a wife and proud mama, a leathercrafter, silversmith and singer/songwriter living in the Bay Area with my wonderful little family in a century-old cottage.
Here you'll find my honest and sometimes profane thoughts on motherhood, love and work.