Something is shifting, something inside me. I can't quite put my finger on it, can't really define what the shift means, because I'm the first to say, I really don't know yet. Maybe writing here will help me put my finger on it.
All I know is that a dream I've had for years - to be a successful Artist - feels like, if I'm honest, fanciful now. Actually, more than that. Pointless. Not in a negative way, like "I'll never get there", but more in a "this no longer feels like an Authentic priority to me anymore" ...
Since 2001, my sole driving focus was to 'make it' as an Artist. I've experienced some amazing triumphs and desolate lows in my career and yet, I've kept moving forward, onward with the dream that if I just worked hard enough, I'd surely get there in the end.
I told myself I was committed and talented and I went to any length to keep putting one foot in front of the other with my dream.
But then I became a parent in 2011 and this dream became a huge draining challenge on me, emotionally. At risk of being judged for my honesty here, so many times I thought that being a parent just got in the way of my dreams. I spent the first year and a half of my son's Life with a pretty serious case of PND and the feeling of being relentlessly held back from my dreams only compounded my sense of despair. I missed my freedom to achieve.
By the time my husband lost his job when my son was 18 months old, my Art career had actually begun taking off, so we decided that I'd be the family breadwinner while he stayed at home with our son.
Finally, I thought! I could have time for my Art. I could pursue my dreams and provide for my Family at the same time. I was finally a full-time Artist and lots of new opportunities were coming my way. I thought I was living the dream!
The first couple of months were great. I felt so fulfilled. I'd come home from my studio every day with a new spring in my step, feeling grateful to see my family again. I accomplished many of the things I'd always wanted to do - Ran an Art Retreat, Created an E-Course, Wrote a Book, Exhibited in the City, got Nominated for Awards ...
But it wasn't long before the pace of supporting a family on Art began to wear me thin. I was constantly trying to invent new ways to make money to provide for my family and my Art wasn't feeling like it was for me anymore. I began to feel like I was whoring myself out to make money. The price to pay for "Living the Dream" was stacking up.
Then in July last year, I had a nervous breakdown. In one fell swoop all of my dreams completely vanished. My Life became about just getting through each moment and I could do nothing but surrender to what was occurring within me. I had nothing left to fight or to achieve. I could only accept and experience.
As I recovered, some of the old feelings began to resurface. The feeling of striving. The feeling of achieving. And alongside it, the feeling that I didn't want to go down the same track as I did before.
Something had to change and that something was Me. But who do I change to? Who do I become? I didn't know. So, I just began to focus on the process of Becoming ... Myself.
So this brings me to where I am now. My Art dream has shifted, to the point where I actually don't really feel like I need an 'Art Dream' anymore. Striving is not where I'm at. During my recovery, I spent my time focusing on self-care and healing and opening to the experience of being nurtured by those who Love me most, that I have realised that I really like what I've found here.
I like the slower pace. I like chilling out at home with my family. I like having a day job as a Kindy teacher and earning regular income. I like stability. I like time for yoga. I like the small things. And I like making Art, but just not solely creating it as a commodity anymore.
So, there you go. You're here with me now, following someone who doesn't have a plan or a Big Giant Dream. If you've been with me for a while, that 'achieve anything' dream might have been the energy that drew you to me. But now, I've pivoted. My logo says 'Expressive Artist' but these days, I feel like I'm so much more than just that. Who knows where I'll go from here.
I'm not saying I'll stop making Art. I Love it as much as ever. I just don't know anymore how I can sustain you, my readers, because all I can surely offer you right now, is an honest sharing of my journey and personal unfolding.
Is that enough for an Artist, just to create a meaningful Life? It is for Me. And since I'm the Live-er of My Life, that feels pretty self-care-inspiring for now.
All My Love,
P.S - This wonderful post by Author Mark Manson is a wonderful one about the transforming stages of Life and how we get stuck and move through them. An inspiring read.