Too often in life, we avoid changing the path we're on because of possible rattlesnakes. (Side note: In this case, I did stay on the path, because I don't have a death wish, but I didn't see any rattlesnakes. Montana, you disappoint me!)
So here it is: the end of my month of gifts, the end of a journey I wasn’t sure I wanted to make. I found it hard to contemplate stepping away from social media, even as the urge for quiet grew in me. I know it’s a risk. At the same time, it feels like the right thing to do.
Yesterday, while we were running errands, the Girl!Twin and I talked about some of the challenges inherent in a life in the arts, how hard it is to balance the need for publicity with the unhealthy dynamic that need can create. There’s a part of me that still wants to believe at some point, I could be popular enough, successful enough, cool enough to be okay . . . but that’s an illusion. The quality of being enough can only come from within, it’s not a gift bestowed upon the artist by a grateful world.
There isn’t necessarily a correlation between having that healthy sense of identity and having success—but the happiest creators, whether they’re famous or not, manage to maintain a space of stillness around themselves, establishing the true give-and-take of friendship. And the ones who need constant reassurance, who have lost the ‘enough’ setting on their souls? Nothing will ever fill that void.
Don’t get me wrong. We all enjoy praise, and we all have times when we need comfort and reassurance. If you’ve ever been the parent of an infant, though, you’ll remember the advice some wiser and more experienced person gave you: babies need to learn to comfort themselves.
So here I am, getting ready to take another baby step on the journey. The quiet is a little scary, a little uncomfortable. But it’s also exciting, and that tells me it’s the right path for me at this time. Every faith tradition has its stories of solitude, I think in part because with too much noise and bustle, the still small voice can’t find room to make itself heard. For too long, I’ve been chattering rather than listening, and now it’s time to change.
I wish you joy, and peace, and wonder in the new year. May your lives be full of gifts, and the magic of creativity.