I say that. A lot. It’s something I firmly believe in. Especially as a freelancer/maker/artist/creative or title of your choosing, those professions don’t always come with a built in community or set group of friends like elementary school did. In my own experience as a hypersensitive extrovert (I may have made that up), I love to be around people, building relationships, teaching each other things, growing and struggling together.
One thing I’ve learned is the struggle is real when your network is stunted. Sure your friends and family are supportive and rooting for you to succeed but do they really get it? Do they understand what you’re trying to do with your art, your vision, what drives you? It’s ok if they don’t but you can’t hold it against them. You know why?
Because sharing is caring. Have you actually taken the time to share your passion with the people you interact with daily? Does the girl who serves you coffee everyday at your favorite coffee shop know you started a non-profit for homeless teens? Does your brother know that you just created an app that helps people organize their lives? Does your mom know that you want to make custom made fanny packs for a living? Let’s flip it. What happens when you witness someone speak about something their passionate about? Their eyes light up, their speech speeds up and you as a listener are captivated by their excitement to share. The feeling is contagious even if you never experienced what they’re talking about. Do yourself a favor and embody that energy. Tell everyone, even your cat, how passionate you are about whatever it is and I promise you positive results within yourself. Don’t feel too confident about speaking your passion into existence? You know what to do:
Fake it til you make it! We’ve all heard it before but how many of us practice it? When I graduated with a MFA in Photography back in 2014, the first few months of conversations I had while meeting new people felt weird. They’d ask, “so what do you do?” and I’d stumble on my words and say, “well I’m…uh…a photographerrrrr….” with a few more long, indecisive pauses sprinkled in. I mean yes, on paper, I am a Master of Photography. But at that point in my infantile career, I was more comfortable saying I worked at Peets Coffee than declaring to the world that I followed my passion, studied and acquired skills and got really good at something. It’s all so surreal until you speak it into existence. Even the “impossible” stuff.
Am I an artist? Yes. Am I making a living as an artist? Well that doesn’t pay the student loan debt but everything I do is infused with my artistry so at the end of the day I still feel confident and comfortable in identifying as an artist. I’m hoping to one day be living proof that if you do what you love, the money will come. So what am I saying to you? Carve your own path. Trust me, it’s doable. Hard. Unpredictable. But the only person that can make shit happen for you is you. Sure there are Threshold Guardians but it’s up to you to keep knocking down those barriers until you feel 100% you 100% of the time.
Is that a tall order? If so, hang in there. When you feel like you’re pushing a boulder uphill, on one leg, blind, in the snow, with no shoes on…hold up, I got carried away…so, blind and forgot why you’re even doing this, remember that there are so many fucking people by your side, being your other leg, smoothing out the path uphill, setting up a pulley system to get that boulder uphill faster of just whispering in your ear every 5 minutes that you can do it.
If you want to know where I am in my journey, I’m currently carving my own path. I have no idea what’s ahead but if I keep at it, I know it will be made for me, just how I like it and laid out so others can follow if they so choose. Moral of the story is we’re all in this together folks (remember it started with community) so drop the spotlight syndrome, speak your truth and live your passion to the fullest!!
Do you have a similar experience to share? Or something totally different and you want to start a discussion? Feel free to leave a comment below 🙂
P.S. (Thank you to all the meme-makers out there, you know who you are. You’re the best. Sorry I didn’t give each one of you credit.)