Oh, To Be Dissatisfied
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Oh, To Be Dissatisfied

In the wise words of Martha Graham, oh, the beauty of dissatisfaction.

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Recently, I heard the fascinating quote of a woman named Martha Graham about the life and work of the artist, the individual.

"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique."

It spoke not about the hefty, all-encompassing definition of what art is but rather personalized art to the individual, speaking about each and every artist's own expression and what it means to have one. And not only that; this quote also proposed a challenge to the listener.

"And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it."

The challenge is this: no matter what it may be that you as an artist have to offer, go make of yourself and your art something in order to share your expression with the world. Because if you choose not to share, if you stifle the exercise of creativity and wonder of which you are capable, no one will ever see your expression. As much as the monotony of daily life will attempt to convince otherwise, there is not one single person alive that can create the same art as you. There is not a person alive that can be you save for you. Graham took a look over the scope of art and saw that it was embedded in each and every person, and any outward expression we may know and love had roots in someone, somewhere, so she urged the artist in every single person to shy away from selfishness and allow the world to share in what they have to offer.

"It is not your business to determine how good it is: nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly; to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open… No artist is pleased…"

There will seem to be a million voices telling you that this challenge is a bad idea. That no one will care about what you have to offer. That your personal expression is better left unshared. Honestly, dear friends, those voices could not mean less if they tried. Your personal expression is yours and is unique, is meant to be shared. It is no one else's right to determine the worth of your art. And it's not your right to decide if the world gets to see it if it is worthy of the world. The art of personal expression is not measured on a grading scale and handed a letter grade. Personal expression is a foundational part of human communication. You share what you have with the world, and the world shares in return. Don't let anyone tell you what you have is not enough. What you have is enough. What you are is more than enough.

"There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."

And you will never, ever be fully satisfied in your art. You will find pride and solace and love in everything you choose to do. You will fall in love with it, make mistakes in it, find frustration in it, see the beauty of it every time you take the challenge. But satisfaction? Never. Satisfaction means you stop. Satisfaction marks the end of your artistic journey. When you are truly, fully satisfied with your work, you will cease to work. Your personal expression will have come to an end.

This is why there is never any satisfaction. The artist is never done. A person's personal expression is never finished. It continues to grow, continues to develop, continues to change. And dissatisfaction? It fuels the fire of our artistic exploits. It ensures that we never grow stagnant in our passions. That we never stop striving for greatness, even if we have already reached it.

Be satisfied with your dissatisfaction. Be constant in your drive. Be awake to your motivations. Be alive in your moment, in your time right now. Be ready for your expression to fill this world.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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