As Artists, We Have to be Really, Really, Really Brave.

As an artist---Oh shit, does that sound pompous?---

So as these lines beg and tremble to be released from the passion & fury in my soul, the self-doubt arrives again. It's loud.

It gets right up in my face. 

I try to resist, but she already has me tangled up, second-guessing every sentence I stitch on the page. I worry. Will the magic go away? Will the words clunk together into a mess? And sure enough, the letters begin to get stuck, lodged in my throat like sawdust, but here, here---I'll try again. 

As artists, we face self-doubt. Daily. Yep. Daily, baby. On the moment. Every second. 

We face the hollow, bone-shaking fear--the singular question that keeps us up at night--what if no one likes it? What if I bare it all and fall flat on my freakin' face? 

What if I sound dumb? 

What if it sucks? 

What if they laugh? 

Who am I kidding myself?  

What if they criticize me & throw me into the fire of my own vulnerability? 

And the doubt pitters and patters. The questions rise & fall, like stormy ocean ways.  This is simply part of our practice. A harrowing stretch of the journey. It's a juicy path we walk, indeed. 

But we find something bigger than the doubt. We find something bigger than the fear. 

Passion, oh yes. Passion, ruby red & dripping hot. 

But really, it is our knowing. 

The knowing that hits us over the head, bangs belligerently in our gut & tells us to write, to move, gives us a wild flow of ideas, images, and visions. 

It's the feeling that we cannot live without having made this, written this. 

It's the fire than burns in our veins. 

It's the truth that softly lands on our laps, the breeze that kisses our cheeks and whispers: "Write this, create that." 

And we have the choice--do nothing

Or

Do everything. 

Say it. Go with it. Roar with it. Dive deep with it. Fly with it. Face it. Hug it. Let it guide us. Let it transform us. Let it submerge us in its murky, wonderful waters. 

As artists, we have to be really, really, really brave.

We have to go inside, where we think we can't. 

We have to be ahead of the curve. 

We must sometimes share the things that hurt to share. 

We have to talk about the things that no one wants to talk about. 

We must trust. 

Our Selves. Spirit. Our soul. Our heart. The words. The ideas. The flick-flick-flicking of creative tingles that buzz in our bones after midnight. The visions that soak our souls so thoroughly. The imagination that we wrap into everything. The way we fall in love, even with our pain--for we know it can be transformed and molded into a wild artistic expression. 

We have to trust. To fall to our knees. To go with it. 

Because not trusting, not creating--is death.  We will wither. 

And this creating, it is raw and alive. It is life. It is not always so pretty on the inside. It's not neat, tied-up with a pink satin bow. It's not confident or shiny. It's awkward & feeble sometimes. 

We wrestle with it all in private. Sweaty, messy, our limbs shake, we cry, we resist. It can feel like a goddam cursed nightmare. It can feel momentarily, worse, than anything we've every done. 

But then, the moment comes--that moment of leaping bravery. 

Fuck, what a terrifically terrifying moment. 

And we share that writing. 

We paint. 

We dance. 

We sing. 

We perform, although it's not a performance at all. 

We DO it. 

As artists, we come up against all the fear and doubt we have ever felt. 

And we breathe it in

And we breathe out fire

And we breathe out hope. 

And we breathe out the most beautiful blooming love. 

And we keep going. 

As artists, we have to be really, really, really brave. 

Oh, yes, we must squeeze our souls for every drop of boldness we've got in us. 

We must be bold and, at the same time--gentle enough the access the exquisite tenderness that writhes inside us. 

As artists, we are utterly vulnerable. 

Our skin is see-through. We weep onto the pages, we sob into our creations. We pour the entire contents of our pain into our paintings.  We put everything into it. Absolutely everything.

The cost is high.  

But when we go for it, with every fiber of our being--when we let our awkward, struggling, fantastic humanness seep through, full of emotion and confusion and subtle twists of irony--

That's when our art matters most. 

That's when it can embolden & set other hearts free. 

That's when it can shake up the world & make space for change...

When our art is real. 

When it's most human. 

When it's messy and stained with the blood of our hearts. The inky hope of our darkness. The truth of what we've been through.  When it's raw and awkward and rough and imperfect, but we have decided to believe in it anyway. 

When we doubted ourselves so hard, but found the strength to keep going---that IS art in itself...

Because all the criticism in the world can't take away the feeling

Of sublime freedom

That rushes into us

When we let go

Fully let go

And create. 

It's what we are meant to do. 

And it moves us. It heals us. 

It is like being filled by the giantness of our Spirits. 

Hold fast to that freedom, dears. 

It is yours. 

It is you. It is me.  

It blows in the wind, it bellows madly inside our bones. 

It is the fire that keep us alive, it is the oxygen that feeds, frees us, fuels us like nothing else. 

It is our medicine. 

Yes, this precious art we breathe soft & dive so deep to make, 

It is our medicine. 

 

 

Photo: Pixabay.