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Dear Creatives

Oftentimes I forget that creativity is a superpower. To be creative is to be vulnerable and wear your heart on your sleeve. Vulnerability can be seen as a weakness when, in actuality, it is powerful. It takes courage to put yourself out there and share what you’ve created with the world.

To be vulnerable is to be daring.

Being daring won’t always look like skydiving, drinking whole milk while being extremely lactose intolerant, or jumping off a cliff. But it does require taking a leap of faith. You may think that you’re not ready, or that you have to wait until you’ve found that special thing that makes you stand out. That thought process is actually just a defense mechanism to keep you in your comfort zone. Your mind is just trying to keep you safe and away from risk, away from the unknown. The truth is…. YOU ARE READY. You would not perceive the possibility otherwise. Where does that thought process come from? It typically comes from a fear of failure.

It is the fear of failure that stopped me from applying to so many open calls for art. It stopped me from going to open mics to perform for about six months. I have declined commission requests for paintings and other opportunities because I was scared. Scared that I was not good enough. Scared that my audience might not like my most recent painting or that they won't like my singing. Scared that if I did not get a certain amount of likes or compliments, it meant my art and voice were meaningless. It was fear that led me to later believe that because I was scared to fail that I should just stop expressing myself altogether. I thought that if I stopped expressing myself that the fear I developed would disappear.

I did not stop expressing myself, but after letting fear guide my decisions for so long, it became a prerequisite to doing so. The fear surrounding my expression snowballed and I noticed that I was experiencing generalized anxiety. It followed me to work and social outings. It was through self-inquiry that I later realized that creating art was no longer fun for me because it became less about art and more about control. I gave fear a name by calling it anxiety and gave it a voice when I let it guide my decisions.

For the longest time, I listened to that voice, which hindered my growth as an artist because, as you know, time waits for absolutely nobody. I was consistently missing out on art shows and family events. I would cancel on friends because of anxiety and then experience FOMO for crying out loud. What a cycle!

I did still make art although it was very rare. Then, when I was making art, it was typically commissions in which I was not allowed creative freedom. Commissions will drain your creativity if you’re not actually interested in the subject. I found that I would spend a lot of mental energy comparing myself to others and dissociating while creating art or singing. The comparison to others and lack of presence led to disappointment in my art every time because it was coming from a place of fear rather than love.

What changed? I started practicing mindfulness throughout my day. It started with the promise to make my bed every morning before I left for work. Why? Because making my bed was an easy task to complete that would give me a sense of accomplishment. It was helping me learn to trust myself again and do something productive for myself. This was a very small but important task to me because after years of operating from fear I was able to have order in my environment. Yes, even if it was just making my bed, it did make a difference.

There are still plenty of days when my mind wanders and the last thing I want to think about is making my bed. It has helped me start my mornings by being present. Bam! Just like that, I am programming a positive habit into my daily routine to counter the effects of waking up with anxiety and operating out of fear. This has now transformed into a yoga practice. Yoga helps me become aware of the emotions and tension I’ve stored in my body.

It is mindfulness that has been helping me get out of my head and into my life. It is through getting still, breathing, and choosing to be daring that I have achieved. I encourage you to get still. This may be making your bed like me, or something completely different like going for a run. The point is to spend time with yourself and allow yourself some grace. This will help bring clarity into your day and over time will help you be daring more consistently.

My year so far thus far is a testament to why choosing to be daring can change your life. I am a host at the Lighthouse Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit inside the Aria Crystal shops. I found out that the exhibit has an on-site artist residency program in which artists get paid to make and sell their art at the venue. After meeting the first Artist in Residence we had, I was curious about applying.

I was unsure of myself as an artist and if I would fit in. I did not think I had a style that people would gravitate towards. Being at an exhibit surrounded by Vincent Van Gogh’s work was intimidating, to say the least. I encouraged others to apply but lacked the confidence to apply myself. It wasn’t until I encouraged one of my closest friends to apply and upon her acceptance into the program that I really thought that I had a chance.

She had her doubts as did I about myself. I was really proud of her and excited to see her succeed. This eventually caused me to face myself in the mirror and express that I too am worthy. Not worthy because I think my art is great, but because my value is innate. My value and worth do not decrease after rejection, or ever, for that matter. I convinced myself to move forward with the application process.

I was told I would hear from the Artist in Residence program in about 3 weeks or so. At this point in my life, I wanted a change so bad and was praying for it. I was constantly doubting my acceptance into the program by the 4th week of no response from the program. Fortunately, it was through getting still and practicing breathwork and yoga that I was able to spend more of my time feeling good and operating out of faith. I later received my acceptance letter into the program. It took the choice to get still, be daring, and use the tools I gathered to make this a reality.

My residency at the exhibit was extended in its third week from the four-week contract I signed initially to six weeks total. This was a complete shock and a blessing as I was able to create more pieces I was proud of. I am proud to say that I did sell every painting I made during my residency. I would have not been able to flip the script had I not made the choice to be daring and take action.

It is important to cultivate your superpower of creativity through being daring and taking action. You will find that it’s a lot easier over time to create consistently. Please practice self-care and self-inquiry to prevent burnout and, in my case, anxiety.

Creatives cultivate so much positive energy for the world! You may not know it but by sharing that poem, song, painting, sculpture, or dance, you made another person feel valid. You are showing other people who look like you and come from a similar background that their creative interests do not go unnoticed. You are an integral part of somebody’s story.

I learned that fear is a compass. A compass always pointing north towards what our soul craves and wants us to accomplish. If you’re not sure what you should do next to advance in your creative career…. do what terrifies you. Initially, it may feel like stepping on a couple of Legos and then some. But choose to be daring, take a deep breath, and get still. Do whatever you need to get to a neutral standpoint. The goal is to dissolve the fear. With that mental block now gone, it frees up so much energy you expended and will then bring clarity.

What’s next? You move forward. It is okay to stumble, to take a break. You must keep going! Your creativity heals and the world needs it. We need you to express yourself authentically so that those around you do the same. The next time you are having doubts, get still and be YOU. Be daring!

About the Author

I am a mixed media artist based in Las Vegas, NV. I enjoy creating art, writing, nature, playing volleyball and singing. I am 24 years old and have been creating art since I was in Kindergarten. It is through finding The Love Yourself Foundation that I started putting myself out there more starting back in 2019.

Instagram : @saturnjon / @jonathaninkzzz

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