Great Expectations

How do we live as artists? I don’t mean what we do when we’re alone, the couple of hours during the morning or the night that we are actually doing the thing we love, the writing or painting or singing or photographing. How do we live, every minute, every hour as artists in the world? I sit at my desk at work trying to let my mind wander to what I’d rather be doing. I read blogs in the hopes that I’ll find other artists at this exact moment bringing something beautiful into the world that I can witness. I scour the web for pieces to get me through the day. I listen to music, to interviews, to the voices in my head. Some days I walk away from the office feeling like I did OK, like I can breathe well for the night because I actually did what I was put on this earth to do. Some days I leave like a zombie. Brain dead, frequency flat-lined, exhausted at having to hear one more person complain about their keyboard, one more person force another into helping them solve a computer problem, a design problem, a management problem. All the problems in the world and we as individuals keep asking others to solve them. When is it time we look to ourselves?

I’ve been feeling great expectations for most of my life. As I should! But the expectations for what others think should be my life is overwhelming. Dump this, dump that, add this, add that. Change, change, change, change. I look at the things that make me, that piece me together and for where I am right now, all the pieces, missing or not are just who I am. I feel sometimes I’m being shoved into a skin that isn’t mine, that doesn’t and won’t ever fit me, the deer hiding under a bear’s pelt. I’m supposed to be stronger and louder and more forceful, but I’m a force in my own way. I know as I get older I will grow to be more forceful, more vocal, stronger. That’s what comes with age.

For now I’m building a little fire, keeping my hands warm, polishing old poems I’ve found a new love in, getting back to the words that make me me.

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6 Responses to Great Expectations

  1. It may be that by becoming more vocal, forceful, we keep the expectations of others from denting our armor. Or it may be that we mellow and soften, become flexible and non-resistant, producing the same outcome. Keeping our own council, knowing without hesitation our truth is the challenge of being in the world. For today, I sense that holding for myself a sacred space amid the demands and general chaos is as creative as any tangible work I might produce. At the end of the day, if we have not drowned, we have succeeded.

    • rachvb says:

      You raise an interesting idea, thank you. I suppose it becomes a matter of what kind of people we are. Am I more fluid and flexible or more vocal and forceful. I think the obvious answer for me is fluid and flexible. Truth IS the challenge and I often wonder why it’s so hard to express, to find. Why is the truth so hard to uncover? I suppose we are all covered in layers and know our truth lies beneath them. Perhaps I am heavily influenced, perhaps I too often look outside myself.
      Sacred spaces are so vital. I feel without those quiet spaces I would surely drown in the world’s noise.

  2. Yes, Rachel, you would surely drown in the world’s noise without those sacred spaced. As would I. Some people are born with thicker skin and can deflect the assault that is the modern world;
    I sometimes think I have no skin at all, it seems such a terrifying and meaningless cacophony. Maybe you could bring a totem or emblem to your desk that would quiet you during the busyness of the day, to remind you of who you truly are. Meanwhile, keep warming your hands over the secret fire that is your poems.

    • rachvb says:

      I know what you mean by feeling as if you have no skin at all. It’s almost terrifying to me to be seen so emotionally naked. I think that’s why I sat on my poems for so long. I certainly don’t have a lot of armor now, but just grew tired of having my insides be different than my outside. I feel I’m slowly combining the two. It may be my life’s challenge?
      I love the idea of bringing a totem. Thank you. I have a bazillion trinkets around the house, there is surely something I can take with me. I have my journal out with me always, sitting there beside me. Some days I put in my headphones without any music. It’s nice to feel as if I’m hearing my own head, drowning out all the rest.

  3. LtotheJ says:

    You should bring Tula. She can be your trinket … and your body guard.

    • rachvb says:

      Tula doesn’t necessarily bring me peace =) She can be a pain in the ass. This morning she almost licked a light bulb while it had been on for like a half hour. Hey, Tula, those things are hot…

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