Artists aren’t known for their “happily ever after” lives. The painters, the writers, and the creators usually don’t fare as well as their creations. Artists stumble through lives of ups and downs, deep sadness and incredible joy. They’re messy and flawed and so much fun–and as my friend Charis said after ruining yet another shirt, “Paint is a casual accessory.”
I don’t consider myself a “good” artist by any means. In fact I often feel completely unqualified to even call myself one. But the more people I meet and the more I learn, I realize that’s exactly what makes me an artist. Being an artist isn’t about how well you create, it’s about simply creating.
So while I can’t hand you a masterpiece like one of the greats, I bet I could tell you how they thought.
They probably often saw themselves as miserable failures. They probably struggled with depression and anxiety. They probably cried themselves to sleep all too often. They probably felt pain deeply and wondered about the purpose of it all.
But you know what else?
They also saw the depth and meaning behind everyday things. They only hurt so much because they felt everything so intensely. They probably hoped that they would seize the day and embrace the beauty around them. I’m sure they cried when their hearts broke, but they knew the power of a good story. And a good story has to have pain in order for there to be redemption.
Artists have a lot of issues, but they have so much to offer.
Artists have minds that are filled with oceans and storm clouds and lightning and wildflowers. They don’t always think clearly or feel the way they’re supposed to. They can be emotional and severely insecure.
But then they can look at a mountain and be awestruck. They can see the ocean and compare it to their soul. They can capture emotions in words the way you capture fireflies in a jar. They take hard times and sadness and weave them into their creations.
They’re as real and as raw as you can get. Complicated yes, but never boring.
And as I sit here, shoving chocolate candies into my mouth and drying my tears, I’ve decided not to hate myself for being an artist. To stop wondering that maybe if I was somehow a little less me I wouldn’t have a broken heart right now.
But even if that were true, I still want to be an artist. I want to create and love and live life the way an artist does. I want to take my anxiety and my insecurities and use them to see the beauty around me.
Maybe other people don’t feel extreme lows the way I do, but they don’t get to see things the way I do either. They don’t get to see how stunning hope can be or how a single word can be light in total darkness. There are times during my day when I can stop and notice how all the little plot twists and disappointments led me to the exact, beautiful moment I’m in. Even heartbreak has a purpose.
Sometimes it hurts, but I still want to be an artist.