I AM an Artist. I’ve finally said it. The big word is out. You may wonder what the big deal is. Fair question. I don’t know. But it feels huge. All I know is that it has been a very long journey to make peace with the idea of being an artist. And obviously I have not made complete peace with it yet.
Last week, I was browsing through Caroline Myss’ online library, looking for archetypes that resonate with me. The first time, I scanned through the list, I just skipped the Artist. I saw it, but I did not want to read the description. “You are NOT an Artist,” the voice in my head said, “no use in even looking.” The second time, there was a different, kind voice that said: “Just read, and then go from there. No harm in looking.” While reading the critical voice was on repeat: “See that you’re NOT an artist. I knew that. You’re nothing but a fraud.” That hurt. To see the confirmation of something I feared deep down. And then I read this:
Doing what you do in such a way that you create an emotional field that inspires others also indicates the Artist energy at work, as does the emotional and psychological need to express yourself so much that your well-being is wrapped up in this energy.
The first half of the sentence rang true, but the last half hit me like a ton of bricks. I had a very visceral response while reading it. Nothing more true. When I don’t express myself, when I don’t create and share, I die on the inside, I dry up, I get more and more tired. I just never saw the correlation.
As you may have read recently, self-expression has always been difficult for me. Still is. I used to censor myself all the time, without even knowing I was doing so, a completely automated response during every form of expression, even, or especially, when I was in the process of creating something. Paired with my inner-critic, he seemed invincible. Both deeply integrated in my being, like a weed taken root in every part of my psyche. Instead of extracting the weed, I am going to stop feeding it. Which simply means that I am going to fearlessly express myself in any way I want to. Knot in my stomach. But I can stomach that. I am going to feel the fear and do it any way. You don’t need to agree with me, you don’t need to like me or what I create, you don’t even need to pay attention to me, because I do this for me. Expressing myself through creation makes me feel alive. I don’t know where this will land me, how this will go, but I am going to allow it to evolve. I am going to take it one step at the time, Allowing myself to express unhindered by limiting beliefs, unhindered by the need for anything I create to be perfect from the beginning, or perfect at all. I am going to work on my skills by drawing and painting objects and I am going to work on allowing flow by working associatively. I am going to experiment, and allow myself to fail, and fail, and fail. But most of all, I am going to give myself permission to be the artist my soul has always been yearning for, without confining myself to an ideal or fearing to be a fraud. Even more challenging may be my inner-critic shouting that it isn’t ‘useful’, that I am just mucking about, it even feels sinful. I guess I’ll just fearlessly have to grab that one by the horns as well. I am not going to let anything hold me back from living my life to the fullest. My inner-critic was right, I was being a fraud, not as an artist, but by not showing all of myself, by masking part of my soul.