Who do I have to be for you to believe me when I say that you are creative?
Would you believe me if I was a world-renowned painter? A grammy-award-winning pop star? A New York Times best-selling author? Would you believe me if I had 10,000 social media followers? 20,000? 100,000? What about if I was a researcher, an academic, a scientist? Would you believe me if I pulled out extensive studies into the nature of human beings and creativity and showed you where you are on the spectrum? For you to believe me, would I have to be beautiful, with long flowing hair, a boho outfit and tribal tattoos? Would you need me to be a dream, a rival, a star?
Who would I have to be for you to believe me when I say that you have everything you need inside of you to be an artist?
What if I was a person, just like you, who had to find her way, who was sometimes scared and sometimes confident, who sometimes grabbed the brass ring and sometimes cried in bed, who sometimes got chosen but often didn’t, who did the smart thing and studied English at school, who worked a regular job – until she didn’t – who first and foremost loved the arts but was daunted and discouraged much of the time but also sometimes brave, a person who refused to choose just one art and forsake all others, a person who isn’t a rock star or a top Etsy seller or a blog sensation but who lived every day, to the best of her ability, a true, committed, creative life, one she could feel proud of and at peace with.
Would you hear me then?
Or maybe it doesn’t matter who I am at all, it matters what I stir in you. Maybe it’s when something I say brings tears or goosebumps, evokes hope or sorrow, makes you uncomfortable or wildly alive.
Maybe it’s simply when the truth in me connects to the truth in you that suddenly you know who you are and what you are here to do.
Despite what the marketers say, I don’t want to prove myself to you. I don’t want to serve up a daily buffet of the credentials of my creative coolness. I don’t want to trot out proof that I am worthy. And I don’t want you to have to either.
Let’s get out of the proving and into the arts.
Let’s start with knowing that we are all worthy and from there let’s dive into the work. Let’s be in the discussion together. Let’s wrestle with the challenges and share the learning. Let’s be brave and scared and messy. Let’s take small steps alongside big and bold ones. Let’s be reflective and solitary and brilliant. Let’s be connected and expressive and fun. Let’s open our hearts and stretch our minds, reveling in harmony and rising to challenges. Let’s make it easier for one another, not harder. Let’s try new things and hone our skills and experience life to the fullest. Let’s shine our light and wear what we want and let’s, above all, be artists.
Let’s tell our stories and create our work. Let’s paint and draw and sing. Let’s dance and act and write poetry. Let’s be keen observers of life and ourselves. Let’s be endlessly curious and wildly generous with our gifts. Let’s immerse ourselves in our subject matter. Let’s create from the truth that’s within us and present to the world that’s around us.
Let’s do it without the need to prove. Let’s do it without the demand for reward. Let’s do it because it is who we are, without guilt or apology, for all of our days.