Day 9- Being an artist, and respect, and acknowledgement, and those we love...

Being an artist… I think one of the most difficult parts of being an artist is your relationships. Who is in your life? And how do they deal with you and your art? Do they even know what you do? Do they respect you? Do they support you? Really? And what of the people in your life who are also artists? Are they jealous? Do they always refer back to themselves when you share something about your work? Does everything you say “remind them of them?” Do you find yourself not wanting to share anything anymore because you get tired of responses like, “how did you get that?” “I can’t get that.”

How do you feel when you share your frustration? When things aren’t going well for you, do you feel comfortable enough to share that with those who are close to you? Do you have a safe space like that? Or do you feel that this moment is the perfect moment for them to come cut your legs out from under you? To say things like, “hey, maybe you need to think about something else?” “Maybe it’s time to let it go.” Or do you have people in your life who encourage you? Do you ever hear people say, “you are incredibly gifted.” “Just keep doing what you do.” “You know who you are.” “I know who you are.” “Don’t let this moment get you down.” “Success is coming!” Things like that?

Do you have that in your life? If you do, you are very fortunate, because for most artists who aren’t celebrities, or who aren’t extremely successful, for those artists who live the struggle, it is hard to find real emotional support. True respect. People who really believe in you like you believe in yourself. Who lifts you up in your life when you are down? Have you ever wondered why people try to bring you down? Or why it feels that way to you? Why, sometimes it feels like people actually enjoy when you are struggling? Why they seem to say things that actually add a little bit of weight to your “heavy”, to help get you into that hole a little deeper? Why do people who are supposed to love you do this?

I have wondered about that, as it has absolutely happened to me, many times over the years, but to be honest, I have no idea why people do it. It would be easy to say it’s jealousy, but I don’t really believe that it’s only that. I think it comes from pain. Their own pain. I feel like they are projecting. I mean, to be an artist, and to give up, or to stop doing what you feel you were called to do, or to FEEL like a failure, to look at yourself that way, must be a very painful thing to bear. To carry. And I can only speculate, because I have not been in that place, but I can imagine what it must feel like, and I’m certain it sucks to live with that kind of hurt.

Personally, I remain committed to my work. My art. I will do anything for my freedom. To make sure that I am living a life where my art is first, always, which is no easy task, and there are great sacrifices that come with that, but I have to say, I am happy with that decision, even with everything that comes with it, meaning the good stuff and the not so good stuff. I’m all in. And people who have “let it go”, in whatever way that is, or however that looks for them, hate that I am solid like that for myself, for some reason. I know it. I can feel it. And it hurts. But it’s real. I annoy them. It pisses them off. But that’s okay. I know who I am, as both an artist and as a person, (if those can even be separated), but I also know that it is hard for many people around me to really receive my feelings and my thoughts about my day to day life, because it hurts them to hear it. They don’t want to hear it. I think that perhaps sometimes I am this painful mirror for them. I get that. I do.

Anyway, what’s my point? Well… I think artists, maybe a little bit more than those who don’t do creative work, want to be respected by those who love them. Maybe that’s a pejorative statement about those who don’t create art, and I don’t mean it that way, everyone deserves respect, but I just feel like the artist’s heart is a more sensitive heart in many ways, at least that’s my humble opinion. I know I am sensitive like a mothafucker, that’s for sure. I know for me, although I have the respect and acknowledgement from many of my peers and professionals at the highest level of the work that I do; and as much as I have won awards, festivals, have sold out shows for over a decade, all over the world, worked at some amazing venues, I mean, I’ve accomplished a lot. I have busted my ass to get to the level of work that I write and perform at. It’s the best I can do, that’s for sure, at least until tomorrow when I will be just a little bit better than I am today, and that deserves a lot of respect, at least to me, but at the end of the day, I have to admit…

...I do wish those closest to me were the ones who were my biggest fans. My strongest and most solid supporters. At least emotionally. Spiritually. The thought of those people in my life who are “family”, or who are as close as family, seeking out my work, like so many other people do, meaning strangers, and allowing themselves to receive it in a real, genuine way, meaning in the same way that they receive the work of whomever they are fans of, is something that I will always want. That the people in my life who are most important to me really see me. That would give me everything. But it’s simply not that way. It’s just not. A person can feel these things, you know? Of course you do.

I know most people don’t like to talk about stuff like this, they don’t like to admit this kind of thing, but I’m just being honest... that would mean everything to me. I’ll admit it, and I mean, don’t get it twisted though… I don’t NEED this type of acknowledgement. I actually don’t need anyone’s approval, (I learned that from my mother), and again, I know who I am and what I can do, and it’s certainly not ever going to stop me from being who I am or doing what I do, but this is my blog, and this is what’s on my mind today, and I have certainly been known to be honest and open, and extremely vulnerable in my work, and so, there you go. I’m just sayin’... I feel pretty fucking lonely a lot of the time because my “people” can’t see me for who I am, but rather they choose to see me for who they judge me to be, or who they think I should be, without keeping up with me and my evolution, my growth, my actual “living”, as a verb, and that sucks… And by the way… I am my closest “people’s” biggest fans. Always. And honestly, I think they know this. I show it. I am open with it. I say it out loud. I am fearless with my enthusiasm for a person living their dream. It inspires me. Especially if it’s someone I love dearly. That makes me so happy.

Anyway, onward I go, regardless, and I’m grateful for all of the love and support in my life, even from those who can’t acknowledge me in the way I wish that they would, but I understand it, and I accept it, and I will continue to do the best work I can possibly do, to honor everyone in my life who I love, and even those who I don’t know well enough to love, or, okay, even for those who I don’t like all that much, always with the intention of creating art that contributes to the entire world somehow, meaning disruptive art, and hopefully brilliant art, and entertaining art, at least that’s my goal, all the time, because who wants to make shitty art? Nobody. And so hopefully I get there from time to time, meaning all of what I just mentioned. That’s the goal.

Thanks for coming thru again today, for reading all of this, I hope you have a beautiful Sunday, that you are well, and feeling valued, and as I always say, here’s to a better world, for all of us. To be continued...

(and yeah, I know the Broadway sign is backwards in this picture... just like the fact that it's ass backwards that we, as human beings, for some ridiculous reason, find it hard to accept those we love the most, for exactly who they are. That's dumb. And backwards. At least to me, and so this photo is a brilliant metaphor. And Amen to brilliant.)


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