Most people that know my mom know that she spent over 20 years in the mental health field. It took her to the brink of sanity on many occasions. Especially the last five years, I could just tell that my mom was soooo very unhappy. I would always ask her if it was really worth it to wait it out. She just kept her eyes on the prize of retirement.
What most people don’t know is that my mom is an artist. She draws. She sings. She painted a beach scene on my sister’s wall when I was little that I’ve never forgotten. She likes to put all of her kids’ creative success solely on their fathers. She is such a creative person, but to raise four kids, lived in art-less, uninspired ‘mom-survival mode.’ So many moms I know do this! She not only downplayed her artist instinct but she almost squelched it like a bad memory. You would never know by the way she lived her life. Now that she is in retirement she seems happy as a little clammy jay bird! She has redecorated and repainted parts of the house. She’s actually taking the time to breathe and think about herself for once, a relief to all of her kids.
I’m on the phone with her this week and she tells me she took a ‘sip and paint’ class– one of those classes where you get to paint a picture and drink wine. She thought it was so much fun but was slightly annoyed that there were lines on the canvas to stay within, and that she couldn’t paint her tree the way she wanted. Finally, she just resolved that she was was just going to paint her tree the way she wanted anyway! There was a hint of law-breaking rebel in her voice that I adored. HELLO, ARTIST MUCH!!??? Most people are SO content to stay within the lines and do it ‘right’ so that they have a pretty picture to instagram. Just the idea that my mom got out of the house to do something creative made me soooo very happy (and happy for the other folks there creating, too!) She said it inspired her to buy some paints and a canvas. WHAT IS HAPPENING?!!!
Can you imagine if my mom locked herself in a room once a day and actually did something creative for herself the past 20 years? How much happier she probably would have been?
This Inspiration tab is for sharing stories that I find courageous, brave and inspirational, for sure, but I also created this page for the Artists, Creatives and Creators. I believe wholeheartedly that there is an artist in all of us. Maybe we’re not all Picassos but who cares!? That is the point. We all are uniquely creative and have a muse inside us that loves to create for the joy of it. If you watch ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ you realize even a career in raw fish can be inspiring.
I believe our culture has trained us to look at creativity and artistry as frivolous, totally selfish, unpractical and unnecessary, an utter tragedy in my mind. How many mid life panic attacks do we have to have, second homes do we have to buy to keep ourselves happy and socially ‘okay?’ What if part of that hole that needs filling is creation? The joys of childhood that were stifled with words like ‘responsibility’ and ‘logic’ and ‘career’ and ‘success.’ Most of us, myself included, are perfectionists… “If I can’t do it perfectly, what’s the point?” or “If it’s not amazing art, I shouldn’t share it.” What about the tried and true-less: “It’s just too late to start that now.”
Creating art isn’t about finding self worth in our ‘likes’ or in the money we make as artists. It is about the joy that it brings us– which is far from frivolous, if anything it helps maintain our balance as humans. We also can’t wait for everything to be perfect before we begin. How can we ever become great artists if we aren’t creating regularly? For every photo I like, I’ve taken 200 photos I’ve hated. Get me? Maybe in ten years, I’ll have one great photo. But I am so happy to live for that one great photo.
Take a moment to think about how amazing this planet would be if more people concerned themselves less with clean houses, making money, being martyrs to their families, letting fear rule, <insert a million other excuses here>, and just created? Shared it fearlessly and without expectation? Art, music, books, photos, gardens, trifles, pottery, drum lessons, landscaping, dance classes, etc, etc, etc…
This year I started working on a series of photos I’ve titled ‘The Mess Series.’ It occurred to me just how much time I spend cleaning each day and how little time I spent doing something creative. The clutter constrains me, I say. Well, bullshit. I decided I wasn’t going to do that to myself anymore. Out of self and creative care, it was no longer allowed. Rather than clean, I take a picture of the mess and the title becomes what I’ve done instead. It is a work in progress but a series that has really helped me to put my inner artist first, find peace in the chaos (a great practice for life anyway!) and kick my excuses to the curb.
These photos are some of the un-award winning pictures I’ve been taking. It also helps me deal with being comfortable in my own skin as messes are personal, can be judged and posting them can feel vulnerable. A statement for how we live our lives really. I hope they inspire you to put aside your own excuses and create. This series is a work in progress so most of these won’t end up in the final project, I would imagine. But because they mean something to me as an artist, they are worth sharing for now to make a point. THINGS THAT MEAN SOMETHING TO US ARE WORTH SHARING, HOMIES!!!
At the very least, CREATE. Okay, rant over. 🙂
I have a HUGE fire under my butt this upcoming year– not to accomplish but to create. For the JOY of it! I have projects I want to start, things I want to say, feelings that need to come out in a healthy way. I really hope you’ll join me. Please share your thoughts in the comments below! I’d love to hear what you’re working on! xoxo.