July has been a rollercoaster. I’ve had days at my easel where I think I could touch the sky. The inspiration feeling expansive and exciting. Motivation everywhere I move. And then there have been the low points. The questions about why I should allow myself to paint, fears about whether I’m on the right path… at times they swirl in my head so thickly I can barely focus on my canvas.
Like I suspect many other artists and creative folks are, I’m an introvert. Although a lot of definitions would equal that to being an overall shy person, that’s not quite where I’m at. In some situations I’m quite open and outgoing. But ‘introvert’ means more accurately, that I gather energy and inspiration from pursuits that are more solitary; or in smaller groups and one-on-one interactions. It works for me – most of the time.
Not so much though, when the rollercoaster is heading down. Turns out the very thing I need to do at those times is exactly opposite to my general inner nature. Get out and talk. In particular, talk to other artists. Find a sense of community and belonging. That’s what I learned this month. And the key seems to be that I need to reach out before the coaster hits the bottom of the dip.
I usually wait and wait, thinking if I can just hang on by myself it will be over soon and I’ll be on my way back up again. Looking back at it, it’s painful to even just watch. Why oh why do I wait so long. The thing is, that it will take a heck of a lot longer, a lot more sweat and heartache to get back up alone, than if I’d just have reached out to find some support in the first place.
I’ve learned this month that finding a sense of community for an artist is essential. It doesn’t have to be a big group if that chills your senses to the bone. Just pick up the phone and call another artist. Don’t pretend you have it all together. None of us do. Just fess up and share the struggle. It’s ok – they’ll understand! And they’ll be able to help you see yourself and the situation in a fresh new way.
As important as it is to spend time behind your easel, don’t hide behind it. Rollercoasters are much more fun when you’ve got a friend to ride them with. Thanks for reading. Cheryl.