Arts in Society (AiS) Grantee Awarded $30k 2022 Cycle

Emergence of Being

/ / No comments


October 20, 2019

It was around 2008-2009 when I first began to self-identify as an artist. I was talking about myself as an artist sort of secretly. There would be those first moments in a conversation when someone would say to me, “What do you do?” and I didn’t know what to say. I felt like a total fraud. My art was living in the gallery of my mind, where it was carefully hung and perfectly executed. There was very little evidence on the outside of my inner reality. I knew I had to begin expressing who I am if I wanted to transform the way I was operating in the world. At that time, I would say I was still a blocked artist because I wanted to produce work, but I hadn’t gotten there yet. But I knew it was an essential part of my whole being.

I had a deep sense of beginning to understand this part of myself that had been allowed to go dormant, that had not been cultivated and had been, in a way, cut off. Some of that was my own doing, and some of it was circumstantial, not enough time or money or raising children, other things that steal your time away. It’s easy not to get to the idea that you care about most. Also, the awareness that the creative process requires a certain amount of space around it. It feels almost like time-wasting, and if you don’t have a lot of time to waste in that way, it is challenging to emerge. It meant that I had to make some calculated decisions about how to build some space around myself so that I could begin actually to move in the direction of producing work. And that takes linear time when you’re raising a family since you can’t shift everything all at once. Sometimes it feels like you can’t shift at all, and sometimes the shifts are small, and sometimes they’re big. The author Parker Palmer was influential for me during this time. I was teaching, and I was reading his book, Let Your Life Speak, where I encountered the idea of what it means to live with the integrity of Self. The integrity of Self is to live from the inside out. Is who you are on the inside congruent with what the world sees on the outside? So, I had this increasing awareness of the distance between who I knew I was and how I was expressing that. Are you talking about yourself as an artist or someone else? How are you operating in the world?