Recently I had a big, bold aha moment and I decided to claim the title of creative explorer.
Sometimes I have a hard time saying I'm an artist. I have a tendency to immediately revert to images of tortured souls, addled with addiction, unable to take the talent they so obviously possess and turn it in to anything with any consistent basis. This was the story of the first artist I ever knew and it obviously left an impression upon me.
Then I look at my artist friends and mentors, instructors and colleagues, beautiful people doing beautiful things who claim this title and I don't have a problem with it. Yet when people ask me what I do, I often stumble and statter, or worse yet say "I'm an artist" feeling largely inauthentic as it roles off my tongue.
So back to my big, bold aha moment of taking the title as creative explorer... I immediately got feedback from some that I was skirting the issue of being an artist. I took this to a close group of friends and advisors (The Intergalactic Alliance, yes we have a name for ourselves)and we discussed it.
We discussed all the catchy, cutesy made up names out there today. Someone said call a spade a spade. Two wise folks were sensitive to the empowerment aspect this title of creative explorer might give. At the end of the conversation one gal said she leans towards a "maker" identity but at the end of the day she is an artist. The End...
Follow this conversation up with this post by my friend Robin Hallet, "I am an Artist. The End." She may or may not have been in the secret society conversation above.
and then Jen Lee posted "When Identity is the Enemy of Making". The entire post hit home for me but these words in particular made me yell, "YES! exactly..."
Identities are slippery things--they can call us forward into a future or a new aspect of ourselves, for sure. But that's only if we can step into them. If not, they can become closed doors marked by sloppy signs in all caps: "KEEP OUT." "MEMBERS ONLY."
Perhaps they are hard to step into because of the singularity they imply. "This only," instead of "This AND".
This only instead of that... and for so long a big part of the this only instead of that as related to artist included some pretty negative hangups.
So here I am. I'm still painting and mothering. Being a wife and working online. I cook, rarely clean, last night I made a basket. I teach and I play. I need to start running again and wish I practiced more yoga. I'm relieved I'm not nuts in this what sometimes seems to me search for "title".
Titles I feel pretty clear on today. Mother, always. Daughter, yes. Wife, to my love... Interestingly the titles I am clear on relate to me in conjunction to other people.
Titles I can own based upon things that I do. Painter, most days. Chef, I'm a pretty good cook. Writer, I resist it but it is becoming more and more a part of who I am.
Titles I am ready for....
Artist. The end...