It occurs to me that I have spent my entire life playing it safe. As safe as I could possibly make it. Oh sure, I’ve made a lot of stupid moves (and I really struggle to use that word because I am anything but, however some moves I have made cannot be accurately described any other way), but they were still within my framework of contrived safety. I haven’t really stepped out in a big way but that is changing now.
I was reading a magazine that I don’t normally read and ran across an article about an artist whose work recently sold at auction for $4.35 million. The piece, from 1999, was called My Bed and consists of an actual bed in disarray with stained sheets, discarded condoms and a giant vodka bottle amongst other things. Now this struck me as wild. At first I thought oh my gosh you gotta be kidding me! Four million dollars for a filthy bed? But reserving judgment (well eventually), I thought now, why? Why on earth would someone pay that for that? And it hit me. For someone, particularly in 1999, to be that vulnerable and open and risk-taking with her art? To put her life out there in a snapshot so personal, real and powerful? Uh, yeah, that is amazing and awesome and that is what people are connecting with. That emotion and purity in expression is what moves the audience. It is not for everyone. It doesn’t have to be. Art isn’t, typically, for anyone but those who it is for. Sometimes that is millions and sometimes that is a few.
I am increasingly intrigued by creativity and art. I realize more and more that creativity is uniquely and wonderfully human and so I celebrate it and seek it more in myself and in others all the time. My husband is a professional artist. For many years people would turn and ask me, “So are you an artist as well?” “Who, me, oh goodness no! I am not creative at all,” I used to say on a regular basis, comparing my talents and gifts with his. Oh my. What a stupid mistake of an ill-informed and less loving version of myself back then.
You see, I am an artist. He is an artist in his way. I am an artist in a completely different way. One cannot compare the two. To truly live life fully means embracing the creativity that is in us. In each of us. Yes, you.
You have likely stuffed it down like I did. You probably even forgot about it. I minimized it for so long that it lay dormant for many years. Sneaking out in ways that maybe weren’t the best for me. But it was always there. It will always be there. It is also there in you. You don’t have to show the world your dirty bed but your inner artist is waiting for just a little acknowledgment and freedom to express itself. Embrace it. Encourage it. Let it out.