On figuring out who you are (as an artist).
'Be who you are and do what you want’
‘Don't dream your life, live your dream'’
Phrases like these are the mantras of our individualist lives and although those phrases sound right and promising, they are very hard to live by. If we admit to ourselves that we’re actually not, we feel like utter losers... After all, the words sound so simple!
But they don’t do justice to the complexity of the task.
Do we really know who we are and what we want?
How do we find out?
The same society that tells us, generating a living from realising our dreams is the highest form of accomplishment, also imposes expectations upon us that leaves little room for self expression. We are brought up and taught to be ‘good boys and girls’ – to do what’s expected of us and to abide by society’s standards and laws of conduct.
Nobody has been raised completely free to feel or do what they wanted, instead we learned to ignore our instincts, neglect our needs and to look outside of ourselves for guidance.
Add to this a highly empathetic nature and you’re all set to become a people pleaser who always puts other people’s needs before their own, being careful not to hurt them or let anybody down.
How on earth is a person like this (me) to know what they really want?
Every decision they have made up to this point will have been made considering the consequences it has on their social network and environment.
So when we read said quotes, maybe a feeling of longing creeps up on us, or cynicism or even anger. Maybe we start to question our frustrations, we might become aware that we’re living with compromises that chip away at our personality, at our values and needs and we say 'ENOUGH'.
We decide there and then that we’ll change our habits, that we’re going to put ourselves first for a bit and really do what we want.
And then what?
If you have a clear idea of what that might be then you’re lucky. For the rest of us, that’s when the hard work begins.
Although I have a general idea that my path should incorporate creativity, connection and purpose, I don’t know how the nitty gritty of that looks, what the legacy is that I wish to leave behind.
I hope by making small decisions that are more in line with my values and by saying no to more situations that don’t serve me I will make little steps towards my true calling. And when it reveals itself, I hope I have the courage and strength to go for it.