I recently went to a town hall meeting at my son’s school. Up on the wall there were a few ground rules and expectations. There was one thing written up there that really didn’t mean much to me initially but I realize that I have been thinking about it a lot since the meeting. It simply said, “Risk Honesty”; admit when you’ve done wrong, confess to feelings that might make you feel really vulnerable, speak your mind when you think change needs to be made. Those things seem so simple, but at times, risking honesty can be one of the hardest things to do…like, really hard. But I feel like it’s my time to risk honesty:
My life has been really great over all. Like everyone, I have had extremely tough moments and some really low lows but I have also had such brilliant and beautiful highs that those lows begin to not feel so low anymore. Life has been good to me and I am happy - but I am not complete. I have always been an artist, within my chest my heart beats color and graphite and drippy ink. Drawing isn’t my hobby or an interest I have; people who know me think that art is just this thing I like to do. It’s not a thing I do...
...It’s the thing that I am.
My mom was an artist; I was raised feeling so deeply that art and breathing are connected and that one can’t survive without the other. I look around me and see sketchy lines around flowers and leaves as I trace the shapes in my mind and try to commit their color and texture to memory so I can draw them later. I have spent a super long time hushing the voice inside me that tells me I need to create and make and that I need to feel the weight of the pencil in my hand to be “whole”. I tried to convince myself that, as an adult, other things need to come first and that, while art is fabulous, I have more important things to worry about. Essentially, I have been telling myself that one of my favorite and most important things about myself just doesn’t matter – and I haven’t been telling this to myself for days or weeks or months...but years and years and years. I’d always thought it’d be so neat to take an art class or join a ceramics studio but, as usual, I kept telling myself that the cost couldn’t be justified and that I wouldn’t have time for something like that. Finally though, after stalking their social media pages forever, on a day when I felt particularly brave, I signed up for a bundle of art courses from Make Art That Sells. I risked honesty by telling myself that I needed this to feel whole and fully alive and that, while art might not seem like a true necessity, feeling “me” should be. I risked honesty by telling my family that there would be some nights when I wouldn’t be as available because I would have assignments with deadlines and that I might need a little bit more help with things at home. I was honest. And nothing bad happened. My family didn’t just agree, they were proud of me and they were so excited that I had enrolled in the classes because they knew how huge this was for me. I know so completely that art is what I need to go beyond just existing - to really thriving. Signing up for these classes is so small in the grand scheme of things, but this has been one of the best things I have ever done for myself. So risk honesty. Find the thing that sets your heart on fire…now, go, and do that thing.