ON CREATIVE SELF-WORTH

If you know me, you’ll probably agree with me; if you don’t, I’ll tell you right now. I know a lot of things. I have a lot of skills. Or “talents” if that’s what you want to call them. But I also have a thirst for more knowledge. Knowledge about nearly everything I see. The world holds endless fascinations for me – it’s as if I’m on a race to uncover all their mysteries in the time I have on this earth. I suffer from “I could do that” syndrome. An ambition of wanting to know everything that interests me and be good at everything that inspires me. I worry too much about what I don’t know and forget to trust and celebrate all the things I DO know.

I’ve already had multiple careers in the arts. Dancer. Costume designer. Dance teacher and choreographer. Musical theatre actress. Cruise-ship singer. Producer. Burlesque artist. Most of these careers have felt isolated from one another. Because each of them tend to have their own communities. Their own traditions. Their own labels. Their own games. And the game players tend not to like cross-pollination.

I think I feel too much obligation to the projects I’ve birthed – the need to continually protect and nurture them. And when one of my biggest creations of the past decade is Burgundy, a persona of my very Self, I find myself wondering how to effectively separate her from me so I can get the big picture. So I can step back and view her in the same lens where I view my other creations and continue to explore her as a freestanding creative manifestation rather than simply an aspect of my personality.

There’s a movement of people striving to “give no fucks”. But, aside from sounding aggressive, that idea sounds reckless to me in terms of my craft(s). I want to give full value to the things that truly matter to me. And I’ll be honest, a lot of things matter to me. I do give a fuck about my art. A big fuck. My question to myself is, how do I set up shop in the wealth of my knowledge and be satisfied with creating from there, rather than striving to learn every skill imaginable before I feel ready to create? How do I trust my knowledge and skills to be enough? Curiosity is good. A passion to learn is good. But when do I get to relax into the goodness of all I’ve learned and done in my life rather than living in the anxiety of not knowing everything? I ask these questions of myself because the answer must come from my Self.

Well, the time is about damn nigh. I’ve marked this Year of The Monkey, the year of my Chinese Zodiac birth sign, as my year of “The Best of The Best”. Where I go back through my life and all my skill sets to pinpoint what I’m really, really good at – what I really know how to do. What makes me most happy and feel most complete as a creative being. Then, to begin a new chapter in my life where I can begin to create and flourish from a place of strength and confidence rather than a place where I judge my art by comparison to the knowledge and experience of others.

I am understanding that my creative mind works in a very unique and beautiful way that should not be compared to others’. My process is definitely different than most artists I’ve met. But I have to believe that it has merit. I am learning to trust my idiosyncratic inspirations. To have faith in my tools. I am learning not to create based on others’ expectations, but on inner instinct. This is perhaps the hardest lesson to learn. I am learning to reclaim my individuality. I am learning to be specific, to be real. To put my goals and dreams before all others. I am refusing to wear the labels or play the games assigned by the communities of my various disciplines. I won’t subscribe to others’ agendas. I reserve the right to walk away from people and places that work in contradiction to my goals. I am stepping away from the machine. I am enrolled in my own School of Creative Self and when I graduate, dammit, I will have no equal.

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