A Personal Message About Now
People ask about my art practice. It’s incredibly difficult to talk or write about what I’m going through now in graduate school, as an artist or even as a human being. The first ten pages felt trite, rife with cultural mythology or crap that bored the hell out of me. The sort of glamorized ideology of what constitutes an artist’s life, or creativity, as being some magical force or experience is something I’m fully aware if I fight against, I will only reinforce. And trying to openly share without fuller context is risky, but here goes it anyway:
My experience moving to L.A. for grad school has gotten me in touch with all kinds of stuff: sunshine, food, friends, the outdoors, fear, confusion and a lot of hard work-the kind of work that you can’t always see and definitely cannot quantify. Before grad school life in L.A. I attempted to insulate myself with false ideas about would make me happy and some kind of mantra about following my bliss. That sounds nice, right? But if it’s about bliss, then why wasn’t I feeling it? I still get sucked up into this nice saying quite a bit, and occasionally try to cheer myself or someone else up with it. But really this bliss saying really confused the crap out of me. What really motivated me to change my course was the vague uneasiness and unbearable weight of boredom and loneliness I couldn’t walk around with anymore, plus a gut feeling of just knowing what I had to do. Anything else I tell you is flat out making up stories.
Please believe my words as much as you do the smiles you see in pictures. They are all real. I wake-up and go to sleep feeling damn lucky everyday. But this feeling is something I have cultivated and work on everyday, just like my art practice. I put a considerable amount of effort into everything I say and do. Maybe I’m more impulsive with my action because I have to if I’m going to make any work. Otherwise, my mind will quickly rush to rescue me from doing anything my gut invites me to. And I will tell you the most miserable moments in my life resulted from denying my intuition, that visceral response from what I half-laughing call “deep within” but I fully believe is the synthesis of my nervous system and a subtle body that I just cannot actually see right now.
After writing this post about six different times over the course of several hours, I can now see what the past six months of my life have been about: ditching cliches and shit that sounds nice in pursuit of something that I can pin down, touch, enjoy and be with. Another bliss-ditch that has been helpful is getting rid of the “get out of your own way” saying. What the hell does that even mean?! Seriously! I’m gonna go with it meaning to tune into what matters in my heart. Why say anything else? Tuning into what my heart, gut or deep within wants is enough. It takes a lot of work. I complain. I cry. So what. As long as I remain focused, I get to enjoy random surprises, remain curious about life and appreciate as much of it as I can let myself. It is a choice I feel constantly tugged away from, but I return to it, because I can’t get around L.A. or through grad school living in my head. And I’m no good at stories anyway. This isn’t a new chapter of my life. This isn’t a new beginning. This is everyday is a day. The day presents options. I will make choices. And my mind will just have to deal with that.