This is an essay from My Daily Om. It really struck a chord with me. I am an artist....you don't know how many years it took for me to say that out loud even though I made my living as an artist for over twenty five years. My reluctance to call myself an artist was mainly because of the reactions you get from people when you answer their question of, "What do you do?" with, "I am an artist." Those reactions varied widely from actual scoffs to sneers often followed by the comment, "Oh, my wife does little crafts, too." Ten years ago, I decided to take a "brief" hiatus. I was tired of working twenty-four/seven and I was burned out. But that wasn't all. They (whomever they are) say that if you do what you love the money will follow but they don't tell you how little validation you get from other people. I've been told numerous times that I need to get a real job. I and all creative people face criticism unlike any other field of work I can think of and most of that criticism isn't based on knowledge and fact but rather jealousy and resentment. Why did I burn out? I burnt out then for the same reason I've been burning out on my exercise and other goals I've set for myself now, I let the need to prove that I worked just as hard or harder than anyone else suck all the joy out of what I was doing. It wasn't fun anymore. That therapist I mentioned before asked me why I was so injured and bothered by an often voiced criticism and complaint from my late sister and several other family members that I needed to get a "real job" and not depend on my husband for financial support. This criticism was voiced even in my defense that there had been times in our marriage when I earned much more than he did and neither that situation or the current one seemed to bother him. They always come back with that was then but now, you aren't going to be able to sell your work and you need a real job. As to why this bothered me so much, I wasn't able to answer the therapist at the time. Instead, I talked about my own insecurities about starting again at sixty with my art as a business. Perhaps, the criticism did strike a chord with my insecurities but I've come to realize that I've been fighting back against other's opinions and criticisms my entire life. I don't know why I'm sharing all of this except it helps me to work out how I'm actually feeling and to get to the real and honest reasons behind my actions or since I've been dragging my feet getting that studio ready for work again, lack of action. But I also wanted to encourage everyone to be kind to creative types. We aren't lazy, we are working but don't hate us because we love what we do. Let's try to be kind and celebrate each other and all of our unique talents. We all have purpose.
September 22, 2016 Return and Reclaim Returning to Creative Dreams
Take the time to reclaim your creativity and watch your life blossom as a result.
As children, many of us entertained fantasies or even goals of being an actor, singer, dancer, artist, or musician. In some cases, we received enough encouragement to develop our abilities in those creative arenas, but somewhere along the way we stopped. This stopping may have been due to circumstances beyond our control or to our own unconscious acts of self-sabotage. Being creative can be scary in a world that seems to value logic over imagination and practicality over dreaming. We can forgive ourselves for shutting down or turning our attention away from our inner artist, but perhaps we can also take steps to reclaim our dreams.
In certain times and places, developing a creative ability was considered an important part of being a well-rounded human being. It was not necessary to be a professional or a masterly genius, because the act of creativity was valued in and of itself. It gifts are manifold—from the sheer pleasure of allowing our imaginations free reign to sharing and enjoying the fruits of our labor. Children share drawings and songs freely, without self-consciousness, and there is no reason why we cannot do the same thing. You may already be remembering some lost form of expression, such as making jewelry or writing songs. Your soul may be responding with an energetic lift as it feels its way back to a time when it was allowed to express itself freely. Your brain, on the other hand, may be throwing up obstacles, like the idea that you are too old or do not have the time.
The truth is, you are not too old, and if you have time to pick up a pen, you have time to make a doodle or write a haiku. Recognize that the obstacles you find before you have arisen from a place of fear and that they will wane in power every time you do something creative. Each creative act takes you deeper into a realm of beauty and magic, a realm that you have every right to return to and reclaim.