Slowly I moved from one painting, one sculpture, one portrait to the next, completely immersed in a kind of creative ecosystem. As I wandered art galleries in Barcelona, Spain, my being welled up with intense, undeniable emotion. At first this feeling left me confused, as I am not an artist, at least not that kind of artist, although I can certainly empathize with being a creative. So, maybe I really am an artist. Maybe we all are. Probably we all are, once we discover our own kind of art. Upon further prodding and introspection, I discovered that the emotion I was feeling, as I took in the art around me, came from a place of longing, a place that I did not expect to have tapped into with a few visits to art galleries. But there was no denying what I was feeling was indeed longing.
To get a glimpse into someone else’s imagination through the portal of their art is a gift for sure, but for me it went so much deeper than this. As I gazed upon art and read bios about artists, I realized that I was witnessing people’s life works – I was witnessing work that flowed out of what these people were born to do, and it made me long for the ability to do what I was born to do. I encountered this theme, and the emotion that was married to it, again, while I watched my oldest son train for soccer in Barcelona. As I watched him essentially make his own kind of art out on the hot pitch with a soccer ball, I was reminded anew that indeed he was born to play soccer. I wrote briefly of this on my social media accounts, and likened my son’s stepping onto the soccer pitch to ‘coming home’, because that is what I am reminded of when I see him with a soccer ball. Everything else falls away, his true self surfaces, he is at ease, and he ‘comes home’. I believe that it is true that we are all searching for that place that makes us ‘come home’, and I believe that we all have that place – we all have our own kind of art. As I typed out these thoughts last week, I alluded to the fact that I had not found what it is that I was born to do, and watching him made me ache to discover my own destiny. But even as I wrote out those words and shared them, I knew it was not true. In second grade I knew what I was born to do. It is what I would do in my free time. It is what I dreamed of doing. Just like my son knew when he was six years old what he was created to do with his life. When one is thirty seven years old and still finds immense joy in doing the very same thing she did at eight years old, well, that is probably what she – me – was created and born to do.
I was born to write.
Even typing that brings tears to my eyes, because it is so full of emotion. It also scares me. Because what if I fail? What if, what I was born to do, just isn’t good enough? There are so many writers in this big world, and there are so many good writers that I sometimes wonder if it is even worth a shot in finding my place among them. But just because there are better writers, and just because there are good writers doesn’t take away the gift that I was given. As I encountered art from vastly different artists, each was unique, each had carved out their own, different space in this world, and the beauty of one did nothing to detract from the beauty of the other. Some of the art that resonated the deepest with me did not resonate with my husband, and some of the art that moved him did not move me. And that is okay. That is life, and that is art. Some people may read my words and not relate, some people may not even read what I have to say, but someone, somewhere may need my words; someone may need what I was born to do.
It takes risks and courage to put art into this world – whatever that art looks like. There is no easy way around that. I become vulnerable when I expose my art – when I write and allow people to read it. It is so easy for me to talk myself out of trying. I let this blog go dormant, and I find a million excuses to not write. I have a manuscript that is years old that has grown dusty, and I refuse to finish it, and perhaps for some really valid reasons. A new, fresh idea was born this winter, and although I write, it is not often enough, and it is with immense trepidation and self-criticizing. I sit here with a mug of now mostly cool coffee, and I wonder if anyone even reads blogs anymore, but then here you are, reading my blog, and you are someone, and that is enough. I fear that I will write and write and write and never get published, and the fear leaves me paralyzed. But if I never try, I will never succeed. If I start now, I can fail faster, and try again. There is never a good time to begin perfecting one’s craft, there are always excuses, there is always life to get in the way, so I might as well begin now. There will always be failures, but what if one out of a hundred times, I don’t fail? The what if is to beautiful and motivating to ignore.
Today is as close to the perfect start time that we will ever have, because nobody knows what tomorrow holds. We will never get better if we don’t begin. What is it that you need to start today? Where do you find yourself ‘coming home’? What were you born to do? What is holding you back from trying?
Now is the best time to begin. We get one, wild life to live; what if we live that life doing what we were created to do? It takes courage to live out our destiny, but perhaps the reward from the risks we take is worth the joy that can only be found inside of our own, wonderful art that we put out into the world.
“If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it.” — Wanda Sykes