Revelation sharing time. I had a thought today that transcended any anxieties I have been having about my work, what I will create, and what I will share:
I choose to let you see me.
I often ponder if I would still create art the way I do if I had no one to share it with. The answer is almost definitely yes, but a very large part of why I love creating is because I love sharing. I used to think that made me selfish. I thought I had to hide that because people would think I was an attention-seeker. But now I realize that it is an integral part of my process. The more we recognize important parts of ourselves, the more we can grow with them rather than push against them.
I spent my whole life hiding from people – in school, choosing to sit alone rather than talk to anyone, and even now, going to stupidly weird lengths to avoid eye contact in grocery stores. I grew up believing that I wasn’t special, not because of anything anyone told me (quite the opposite), but because I simply wasn’t particularly good at anything. I struggled through school in a big way my whole life. I never made the top sports teams. I was never the fastest or the smartest or the tallest or the skinniest or the bravest. I always felt normal, which, for someone who has desired to be abnormal, is like a cage.
Sidenote: I remember getting braces and I was excited to finally have straight teeth. About a year into have them, I completely regretted it. My desire to find something that made me different took hold in a bigger way and I wished I could go back to having four teeth where there were supposed to be two. (I had vampire fangs, and it was freaking awesome). My parents deemed that ridiculous and since so much money had been spent to correct my teeth, there was no way I was going back. Now I’m holding out hope that I lose a tooth so that my teeth shift back to some strange configuration.
Enough about my teeth. Back to my revelation.
I have been so worried lately about creating new, darker work that I couldn’t see this new way of thinking. Now I do. And it goes like this.
Artists have a choice: let people in to see their creations, or not.
In fact, people have the same choice. Let others in to see who they are, or not.
And really, that is the heart of the artist’s crisis – what if no one likes my art actually means what if people don’t like me? After all, our art is a true representation of a piece of ourselves.
I never before thought of sharing as a choice. I have always done it, I never questioned it, it was a reflex. But it is a choice, and the more conscious we can be of that decision, the more we can control it, own it, and define it.
I choose to let you into my world.
I can choose to let you out of it, too.
But I won’t. Because, now that I am older, now that I’m not as scared, now that I am as abnormal as I want to be, I can make choices that are braver and bolder and more empowered.
I choose to let you into my world because it is honest, and kind, and vulnerable. Take a look at who I am, beat me down with your words if you must, I won’t break.
And, after my last blog post I am certain, I’ve got a herd/gaggle/murder/group/FLOCK of individuals behind me, holding me up and reflecting my own courage back at me in their faces. You are my soul-family, the ones who tell me to be myself because everyone else is taken, and, and, etc., etc.
I have a new definition of creative bravery. It is not only looking within and creating what you see, but taking control of your creativity in every facet. It is not leaping with blind faith into your work, but taking control of the work you do, how it is pieced together, and the way it is presented.
It is incredible to me that after so many years of creating, the acknowledgment that I have control is a revelation. Why should it be? Why did I not realize that ages ago? The answer is simple: the Internet would have you believe otherwise. Not “the Internet” as in a big monster that hides in your computer, but the very nature of how we interact online. You feel that you have to share, because that is the culture we are all living in. There is a push and pull of your creative energy to produce, create, share, do MORE.
And on top of that, there is a semi-problematic view that what we create is ours and ours alone, despite our constant willingness to share it. So, I am changing two ways of thinking from here on out.
- I choose to let people into my world.
- When I release my art, I truly release it.
I’m not saying I’m letting go of my copyright claim, or that it is any less mine, but simply that it is equally everyone else’s. Not only do I invite you to see what I’m doing, I invite you to feel how you want to feel about it. Be as angry as you want, as understood and delighted as you can be, but for goodness sake, do it wholly.
Thank you for your indefinite and unwavering support of what I’ve done so far. This is going to be a wild journey.