Sunday, April 11, 2010

The big "It's me" ah-hah moment

You know the friend who spends years complaining that the kids/job/parents/mortgage/spouse/bad knee/ADD/PMS  are the reason they were never a writer/painter/composer/athlete/actor/messiah? I have news for all the excuses. It's you. It has always been you.

Or more correctly, "It's me."

I used to think that if I only had time and opportunity I'd finally figure out how to write prose and paint in oils. Not to mention develop good work habits, amaze the critics, and work off that bit of a tire around my hips. Now that I have more time, have I used it wisely? Lovingly vesting my finite hoard of hours on every long frustrated yearning? Nope. And the only person I have to blame, utterly and irrefutably, is me.

I'm the one who read books instead of doing push-ups. 'Twas moi who wrote a hundred first chapters to various novels and nary a last. I'm the one who felt transformed by the William Kentridge show at the MoMA (here's to pressed and vine charcoal and really dirty fingernails!) but didn't actually dig out my charcoals and do a self portrait. It's me. It has always been me. Call it nature, nurture, or proof that free will is slave to hidden sloth. It's me.

Consider the other friend who sets out to do things and virtually nothing stops them.  They open art institutes, businesses, travel the world, perform, become philanthropists, and earn PhDs; they do this by not getting in their own way. Instead of excuses, they have puzzles to solve.

So how do I go from dreaming to doing? Bypass yearning. Yearning is a mix of regret and daydreams; past and future. Yearning takes me out of today. Today is the blank page, the hands on a pen or keyboard. Every day, practice craft, be it writing, designing, or drawing and forgive myself when the results aren't great. Give the muse room to show up. Pay attention to how it feels to learn. Celebrate the small achievements. Keep going. Part of saying "it's me" is finding out what I really love, and honoring my choices. A day at a time. In the time of a day. It is me. My choice. That's  liberation.

No comments: