Season 3 — epiBLOG 12:
You know that I can’t let the entire month go by without acknowledging Women’s History Month! I definitely want to celebrate female artists everywhere – those who are well-known and those who are currently making a name for themselves. To all of you, I salute your strength, passion, persistence, and your unique talents! Thank you for sharing them with the world!
As a black, openly gay female whose main chosen career path is “writer/filmmaker,” many would argue that I have many “strikes” against me as I move forward in life. As I mentioned in my No Excuses blog post about a year ago, I don’t let societal preconceived judgements hold me back.
I’m aware of how some people perceive being a woman, being black, being a lesbian, or even being an artist as something negative. Honestly, I’m happy with who I am as a person. I’m sure I can attribute this confidence and self-esteem to my wonderful upbringing, but it’s just how I feel.
Today’s topic is on learning to be comfortable in your own “skin” as an artist.
How often do we attempt to be something that we are not to appeal to a demographic that will fit the product or talent that we are trying to “sell” to? You have to remember that you were created to look and be yourself in a way that serves both you and those who automatically gravitate towards you.
I know not all of you have gone through getting ridiculed and eloquently coerced by your family, friends, or loved ones into getting a “real job.” I know that some of you have. To those of you have experienced this, I know that you simply desire to chase your dream as a singer, filmmaker, poet, dancer, sculptor, a photographer, gamer, interior designer, or writer, etc.
Maybe your family was supportive at first, but after five, ten, or fifteen years of watching you work towards fulfilling your dream, yet you’re still needing to borrow money from them to keep your lights on in your one-bedroom apartment, they might’ve started to question whether your dream will actually materialize for you. Maybe you even question this. I get it.
This is where you have to feel the way you need to feel in the moment – negative or positive. You then have to peel back the emotional layers and find who you really are. I’m not encouraging you to let your bills go late or to mooch off of others so that you can follow your dream. I’m saying that you have to understand who you are as an individual AND as an artist.
My screenplays, my blog, and my voice as a professor come to life through the eyes of a gay, black female. As objective as I attempt to be when allowing my characters to “speak” for themselves, I’m still the author of their dialogue and their actions. I bring my unique qualities to my writing and to my teaching.
I don’t get to eliminate or shelve parts of who I am in order to create great art. To the contrary, it is ME that my art is seeking just as much as it is YOU who your art is seeking. Embrace how you are drawn to one another without holding back, doubting, or pretending to be something that you are not. Part of art is about feeling liberated enough to create or birth something that is deep within you. I have to create without “pre-editing” myself for others.
Additionally, along your way to success, you will need the help of others – sometimes financially, emotionally, or mentally. DO NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ANYONE’S KINDNESS IN ANY OF THESE AREAS. Respect and be grateful for it. Not everyone has this luxury, and a “luxury” is exactly how you need to look at it. Show your appreciation if you’re fortunate enough to have kind and giving people in your life.
Both the beauty and the curse of art is that it is subjective. It’s a beauty because you can create whatever you like; it can be a curse if you allow others’ subjective opinions of your art to dictate whether you should continue to do it or not. It can also be a curse if you allow others to control HOW you express your art.
You can’t create something magnificent from a phony perspective. Magnificent art is created from the depths of your very being, from you. Whatever it is that you create from there is real.
Today’s LESSON is to go inward emotionally and find your own truth in order to create authentic art.
FUN ASSIGNMENT: Read at least one book a month that caters to your inner growth and fulfillment beginning today.