A fellow performer/educator tells me a story once of earnestly saying to her students, "It's THAT important!" in regards to them being lax about creating their final performance projects. Entrepreneurship is a huge part of living as a creative person these days. Perhaps my overly dramatic imagination just wants to remember her saying that this is while in tears. I could be wrong but I doubt it. She sums up how I, and so many others that I know feel about being independent artists. It’s that important. I can’t think of any other way to explain it.
It is so important to me that I am willing to constantly push my edges in terms of what is comfortable for me. It means so much to me I am willing to make mistakes (Boy do I continue to make them big and small along the way). It means so much to me I am willing to figure out ways of getting out of the discomfort it sometimes lands me in. It is that important to me that I continue to live walk my prayer (live this journey that is my entrepreneurial life). I wade through deep water filled with swimming doubt, buoyant second guesses & splashy worries. Yet, I am also crystal clear about the fact that performing is what I have to do. It is imperative that I do the work I do with women around sexuality, body & self-image. My art & being in the world as I am is my activism. I’d rather uncomfortably walk through the water than halt my independent artist journey.
It means even more because I know intimately what it feels like for me to be on purpose vs. not. Neither is easy. Both involve risk & sacrifices. One involves being & doing things that are the etiquette of the work place as defined by the powers of the company. Job security isn't even promised. Companies have no issue getting rid of loyal employees with decades of dedication if it does not add up on the bottom line. This choice leads me directly towards feeling turmoil inside. My soul physically expresses how out of place it feels. The other choice involves a different set of challenges. It involves finding the balance between one’s soul’s right place, being a responsible adult & what the majority of society believes to be acceptable. It means intense moments of serious uncertainty in life’s many facets (financial, personal relationships, spirituality, mental, etc).
Financially there can be seasons of feast then famine. I deeply believe that careful planning must go into setting up our lives. What is the dual career path or additional income stream/s? What monthly expenses can we afford during the slow times? Most artists desire to sustain on our art alone. We increase the likelihood when we are able to live honestly on what we actually have. We have to remember things like credit card limits do not factor into budgets.
Personal relationships can take more work if your partner or friends don’t understand the undeniable pull for creating or entrepreneurship. It is not something that can be easily understood by those who love us. They see us for the smart, capable, hard-working, enterprising & enter xyz positive trait here ___________ that we are. The path we’ve chosen seems avoidably difficult if not nearly impossible.
It does give immense opportunity to practice with universal energy. There are plenty of opportunities to practice humility, gratitude, hope, faith, etc. The moments when none of it seems to make any sense, offer us the biggest opportunities for growth. They present a chance to see if we can believe what we believe when things are most difficult. It is easy to believe when things are flowing along well.
This time that we are all living in seems to be presenting those of us in all walks of life new challenges to put it nicely. How are we going to choose to react to them? Some days I can muster up the strength for no more that laying down & crying or staring at the wall. Other days I have a pointedly focused vision where I execute as many actions as can be fit into a day. Mostly, there are days filled with something between these two extremes. I do my best to remind myself of my imperfect humanity. It is very difficult, some days, for me to accept that an imperfect humanity is what I have to exist within. I want it the way I want it. I want it exactly that way NOW. Often, it seems, spirit has very different plans.
There is little solace in the tough moments except to commune with other members of the tribe of the road less traveled. I could definitely fill a blog with "things people say to artists &/or entrepreneurs going through challenges". I could fill another blog on how & why so few people are willing to develop the work ethic needed to make it happen for themselves. However, those are blogs for another day. I've been brainstorming with different tribe members about ways to work smarter & not harder. I'm excited about the different ideas that are percolating. Everything is an idea initially, right? The great thing about my tribe is that we not only talk. We do.
I’m choosing to go with it. Let’s see what happens if I release, trust & not white knuckle my way through.