I listened to a podcast today about life purpose and how everyone strives to “be somebody” & feels like a “failure” or an imposter if they don’t find their life purpose and then work hard to live it out and be known for it.
About how in that unrealistic goal… we only show the “instagram-able” moments in life to the world to convince ourselves more then anyone, that we are successful.
The Real talk podcast with Nicole Antoinette with Jordan Axani as guest was about how we feel like we are less than important or successful in life if we don’t accomplish great big things in life.(that term of success defined by money & fame,follower count, fb likes, and public admiration.)
I admit, this is something I have struggled with as an artist. The feeling of “I’m not good enough, or popular enough…I’ll never be a professional artist who pays bills with paint on canvas” inner dialogue. It crushes your creativity and makes you feel like there is no point at all in even bothering to creatively express yourself.
I could go on and on about this for a while, but the one thing I kept coming back to was life legacy, what we leave behind when we are one here in this life…
It made me think of my grandmother Mabel and her life. By that social standard of success…she was a failure in life. No great big life purpose, talent or successes the history books or today’s Wikipedia would immortalize her for.
She was just a mom and just a grandmother who crocheted crooked blankets out of old cheap second hand store sweaters she made us younger grandkids unravel and roll into balls of yarn for her when we visited.
Yet…when I look at what I want success in my life to look like…I hope it looks more like her life, than anything I could do in life that would be worthy of a Wikipedia article/bio.
Whatever I do in this lifetime…At the end of it…I hope I die the way she did: Surrounded by her many grown children and even grown grandchildren and great grand babies. All playing instruments and singing to her, her favourite songs. Holding her hand and loving her completely as her body grew too frail to contain her spirit on this earth.
And as an artist, I hope to leave behind creations my loved ones will cherish….even if they are like her poorly crocheted crooked blanket throws that matched nothing in our decor that we stuck in closets and only truly appreciated after she was gone.
I create to create, because to paint calms my soul and brings me joy. A while ago, I decided to stop trying to achieve some sort of society approved version of success as an artist where people will pay thousands to be able to say they own one of my paintings.
Striving for that as an artist…which I’ve been told all my life is the definition of success…just leaves me feeling like a failure before I even start…and that sucks the joy out of creating for me.
So, my summer project to truly let this be true for me and to let go of that nagging inner voice telling me what defines success…is to create small pieces of art for the joy of creating them…and to put them out in the world as gifts.
No selling on websites, no art markets, no pining for an art show to finally be “somebody”…just art from the heart.
No fear of missing out, no envy, no feeling like an imposter as an artist. Just art left behind in public places for people to find and enjoy, keep and gain a smile from.