(This was originally published in a Canadian zine, and previously published on the original thatsrandomkate blog November 22, 2016)
The world needs your art. How could it not?
There is humanity in our sameness, and magic in our differences. We would be nowhere without individual inspiration, as odd as it might seem at its inception.
It doesn’t matter whether you believe that creativity comes from the brain or some divine source, either way, you’d do well to honor that sh*t. You don’t need to know whether your art will change the blueprints of the world or whether it will touch one single person. It’s all the same.
There are so many circumstances where we’re encouraged not to follow our impulses, and sometimes those rules are correct. It’s not creative to be a criminal for example, or a deviant, or a bully. It’s been done. As an artist, you might sometimes feel like those labels apply to you, but it’s important to remember that they don’t. Being a jerk is not inspired, being moved by your art, on the other hand, is.
The only people who will be thrown by your creativity are the ones who are fearful, and they can be mighty with their control tactics. But by shying away from your art, you’re only agreeing to that control, adding your signature to the petition of fear.
Of course, sometimes those fearful people are the ones who are closest to us, and they can be pretty convincing with their arguments. They’re not right though, you’re right. Your spark rocks those people, and attempting to put it out is the only way they know how to regulate it.
The urge to control comes from fear. Your spark frightens them because they don’t know where it’s going, and they don’t know why they can’t honor their own or find it at all. They don’t want to be less than or left behind.
Your moving forward and rising up shakes up their world because if you can do it then they should be doing it too, and sometimes they aren’t ready to accept that it’s time to change. Be kind to those fearful people, they’re frightened. But those aren’t your fears.
Not everyone is brave enough to try, that’s for sure. For a complacent artist, the burning desire to create without an outlet can feel like a personal hell. Really it is. But that’s because it’s a fire and it’s a gift to feel that even if you don’t know the how’s and the what’s quite yet.
That fire is passion and passion offers you the keys to the driver’s seat in a world full of passengers and lost souls entirely. Please take the keys.
Sure it takes responsibility to accept it. It takes criticism, and commitment, and time management, and growing up enough to choose new priorities, and all of those other things that scare the shit out of us. But you can bet your ass that choosing your path is going to feel a hell of a lot better than letting the world choose it for you.
It’s going to hurt either way, is the thing. You’re a human this time around and the endless oscillation of emotion just is what it is. Let it be. See it and step around it.
Thank your fears for the suggestions, and your tears for the clarity of what needs to change. Those are the clues that allow you to see where to go next, so thank goodness they’re there. Our emotions aren’t throwing us off course, we’d actually be lost without them.
Don’t try to compartmentalize your thoughts or judge their whereabouts. Acknowledge them, and question them. Keep what you want and intend to change the rest, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that they’re not there.
Whatever you do, don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that your art will suffer if you’re happy. Suffering can be creative sure, but only because it has to be. If your life is at stake you might come up with some more creative ideas about how to get dinner than if you’re sitting on the couch scrolling through your delivery options on a smartphone.
But don’t you dare give suffering all the power. It’s not the suffering that’s inspiring you, it’s that the suffering is distracting you enough to let your creativity sneak in while you’re not looking.
The same ideas are there all the time, you just say no to them before they get to the front of your mind. When you let your art come all the way forward then you’re faced with the accountability part. That’s why you shut it down. Stop saying no, we need your ideas now before the crisis hits, not after. We need happy people for a happy world, we all deserve that.
We also deserve to know that being happy doesn’t mean that everything feels good all the time. It just doesn’t. Being happy means that you can observe what comes without attachment to it, or its outcome. Being happy means trying, and having good intentions, and being authentic, and accepting, and leaping, and then forgiving yourself and other people when you undoubtedly fall on your face or get pushed down.
We’re here to learn and grow and the opportunity to express how we have is through our character and our art.
You get stronger on the way up, you know it’s true. You know that heartbreak is kind of beautiful because you’re an artist. You know that loss carries meaning because it makes room for the next thing to come in. Sometimes it’s the biggest blessing.
Our egos like to assign things “good” and “bad” labels but you know that’s not how it works. You’ve felt the amusement and the ultimate aliveness in the midst of the dark moments. We’re so resilient, we always climb out.
In fact, it’s sobering to feel, there’s a lot of clarity in it. There’s nothing to fear from it, and when there’s nothing to fear from feeling there is nothing left to fear about who you are.
That’s where the real happiness lives. It’s not the lack of emotion, but the release of fear and the deconstructing of walls and other constricting “safety” tactics that have gone along with it. You already know how other people behave in the world, you only need to figure out how you do.
You already know how inspiring it is to see someone living out their purpose, whatever that might be. Seeing that can be somewhat alarming in a way, it looks effortless. That’s because they’re not fighting it. It’s not that the process is effortless or easy, that’s not it at all.
That sh*t is a lot of hard work, but living that life full out is worth the hard parts because it gives back to you and it gives out to others and it transforms everything.
Honor your art, it’s your being. Be gracious that it’s there because it’s a gift to care about something so deeply, no matter how much it loves you back. Stop saying no before someone else can. They will definitely say no. But they will also say yes.
Please, the world needs your art.