For as long as I can remember everyone has told me to be true to myself. For just as long I’ve been confused by that statement. How could I not be true to who I am? It seemed like a foreign concept to be anyone else. As I’ve gotten older though it’s started to make sense.
I’m a dreamer, an artist, and a free spirit living in a world where it is very hard to be. All I’ve ever wanted was to create. In a world with so much destruction and brokenness I want to create something that will help heal the wounds of the world. It doesn’t have to be on a large scale even if my art adds to just one other person’s life I’d be satisfied.
That’s not the easiest choice to make in a world that values monetary success when your desired path isn’t defined by money. It’s easy to feel like you’re losing yourself or selling out when you aren’t creating something you completely believe in as an artist.
You can justify it as a means to an end that you need to put food on the table or pay for rent. So you stop spending so much time creating what comes from the heart and create what is being asked of you. Slowly you stop creating for yourself all together.
When I tell people that I want a life where I sit on a beach and write poetry and take pictures they laugh. Trust me I get why. Everyone wants that life. It would be a permanent vacation. That’s not why I want it though.
I want it because there’s this peace that falls over me when I have a camera in my hand and I capture a moment that would’ve otherwise been lost in time. I find myself every time I write a new poem or story. Most of the time I’m in a place I don’t recognize and some how the words save me.
No one chooses to be an artist because they think it’ll be an easy path to follow. We know it won’t be. We do it because at one point our art saved us. It gave us a chance to find ourselves and be who we are.
I think back to all the times my parents said to be true to myself. I know now that for me that means to follow my art wherever it might take me. I can’t sit back and have words and images come to me and not make something of them.
The world needs more artist and dreamers and free spirits. We need reminders that creativity is an answer and a powerful force. So to my fellow artist, create with me and be true to yourself. If I’ve learned anything it’s that true success comes when you’re happy with who you are and what you do.