You ever think about your life's purpose? I do all the time. Beyond knowing that I'm here to love and care for my kids and wholeheartedly believing I'm the one and only person my soul mate needs in life (that's mine and I'm sticking to it you naysayers of love), I find myself curious about why I was given any artistic impulses. Why have I spent a good portion of my life cultivating them? And what the hell am I supposed to be giving to the world with them?
There are also some other things I've spent time studying in my life including mythology, religion and spirituality, anthropology, human relationships and sexuality, psychology, feminism, philosophy, and lots of things that fall under all of those very human umbrellas. So what do I get when I combine all these things with all the art stuff?
While there are still a few seeds of doubt getting a little sunshine in me, I'm starting to think I might have figured something out. Maybe I'm here to use my art to talk about all the things people don't usually want to talk about. Maybe I'm a breaking down of emotional walls type thing. Maybe I'm a smasher of conventions.
It took me a really long time to realize I sort of make people uncomfortable and a little longer to realize it wasn't actually me causing the discomfort. When I'm being myself, I seek to connect with others by talking about things beyond a superficial level. I dig too deep and speak what I know to be truth then ask people to speak theirs. In the last few years, It's getting more and more obvious to me that people hate that shit. Which is cool and maybe I've been going about it in the wrong way. Maybe I was too aggressive about it or pushy or whatever. Then again, maybe it has something to do with getting older or hanging out with a different crowd through my thirties. All of the above? I don't really know.
Anyway, I've let the discomfort of others make me quiet and shy. I'm too afraid to speak my mind outright anymore. I still say what I mean, I just don't say it as often. And sometimes, especially with the stuff I put on the internet, I completely censor myself. I guess I'm trying to be perfect or something. Or at least some other person's idea of perfect. And it makes me angry.
I don't want to be perfect because perfect isn't a thing. It's stifling and suffocating and all that stuff in between. So how do I start saying I don't care anymore? How do I decide that I'm going to say what I want to say and to hell with everyone else (within reason and with love)? Perhaps that's what I'm doing right now.
If you feel stifled and suffocated by conventions and other people's ideas of perfection, let's agree (so long as we're not actively trying to hurt anyone) that our mantra from now on is "not my circus, not my monkeys". It's an old one but it works. Your family is offended by your opinions? Not your circus. Your friend gets defensive when you do something she doesn't agree with? She feels judged, that's all. You've made her question something about herself. That's her doubt, not yours. It was already there before you said anything. Not your monkeys.
My mother, bless her from here to forever, was never big on getting too deep. I gather I've always made her a little uncomfortable with my gushing heart as well. Mostly because that's a trait I inherited from her father. But she never tried to make me anyone else and she was always a bastion of honesty in my life.
Maybe she wasn't into pouring over feelings all the time because that was a luxury she didn't have time for while she was a teenage mother working multiple jobs to support me. But she never fed me bull shit either and she always encouraged my individuality. I know she thinks she could've been a better mom but she was and always will be the perfect mom for me. She helped me become someone who likes themselves, someone with a unique vision, and someone who loves wholeheartedly.
I won't and can't apologize for embodying the best parts of my upbringing. I am my pseudo-dad's subversive sense of humor, my uncle's stoic yet fierce protectiveness, my mother's undying optimism and determination, my grandmother's stubborn sense of faith in herself, and my grandfather's big bear-hugging heart. I am all of them and none of them at the same time - a being made of many parts that is a whole, beautiful, and flawed individual.
How does where you come from shape who you are? What strengths can you harness from those who came before you to then shape who you want to be and what you want out of life? No more hiding. Your voice matters and it's time to use it to make your corner of the world a better, more loving, and creative place.