I'm an artist. I dance. I sing. I draw. I write. Everything in my life is about the arts and creating something from my soul. It's never been about a paycheck or fame or whatever. It's just who I am, what I do, how I live.
And it's the scariest thing ever.
Everytime you put something out there, it's a chance not just for someone to reject it, but to reject a little piece of you. It can be hard on your heart. Professionally, it can be pretty thankless. Crazy parents, unappreciative audiences and a long list of "Great job, but not right for me" rejections are always about. Plus the pay... hold on while I dry my eyes. (I'm not sure if the tears are from laughter or weeping.)
So I was having this conversation with one of my business minded friends."How can you work like that? Why do you do it?"
I gave my normal answer. "I love watching children achieve something they couldn't do before. It's amazing to be a part of that."
They looked at me and said, "No, that answers why you work with kids. It doesn't tell me why you bother with writing and dancing."
And they were right. Why do I do it? It's been bugging me for weeks, months at this point. More than once I thought, I'll just quit. But the next day I was back at it. So Why? Why? Why?
Then last night I was driving home from work. My dancers had done awesome and I was excited so I decided to have a sing-along in the car.
Set on shuffle, my iPod pulled up "The House That Built Me" by Miranda Lambert.The words were so powerful.
And it hit me. Like a freaking train. Or like this.
That's why I do what I do. I don't have a brick and mortar that built me. We never lived in a house long enough, or more accurately, none of them felt like a home because of the walls. My home lies with the people I love, but what built me are the things I create.
I have portfolios full of drawings and paintings. I have notebooks of words and a computer full of manuscripts. Thre's barely a song I listen to that I can't say, 'I did a dance/wrote a dance/am writing a dance to this.' I have a closet full of blankets I've made, a home full of art that makes up my world. The things I make are snapshots in time and a road map to me and who I am. But more importantly, why I am and who I have become. There is such release in knowing the answer to the question.
My creativity is the house that built me. And in that powerful revelation, I know why I weather the ups and downs, the personal nature of what I do, and why I can never stop.