There are so many people out there who will never be able to understand you. Ones who will call your goals pipe dreams and unrealistic visions. People who claim they aren’t being negative, that they aren’t trying to dismiss your dreams, that they’re simply being realistic.
If you’re an artist, that word probably isn’t even in your vocabulary. Because what’s the value of realism in the world that we live in? Doesn’t “realistic” equate itself with average and uninspired? Doesn’t claiming realism equal out to being too afraid to try something you may very well fail at?
Because failure is what society has taught us to be most afraid of—the same society that tells us that money and success are the most important things. So we’re taught to reject the things that may cause us to fail. To quit before we even try. We give in to the idea that one failure must undoubtedly mean a lifetime of continued missteps.
Please don’t believe any of this. Keep creating things. Keep stringing together words and taking photographs. Keep painting and sculpting and acting. Keep writing songs and teaching yourself to play piano. No matter how old you are, no matter where you are in life.
If something is your dream, it is always worth pursuing.
Ignore everyone who tells you that you’re wasting your time. Ignore every inevitable eye roll and heavily puffed out sigh. Realize that for every dozen people who tell you that you’ll never make it, there will be one who believes in you.
Remember that this world is full of other creatives who are going through the same struggle as you are. Know that your path isn’t going to resemble everyone else and that that’s completely fine. You don’t have to fit inside of the box that most people construct for themselves without even knowing it. You can live freely and honestly, without any walls or constraints.
You don’t have to feel alone; us creatives are everywhere.
We’re baristas and waiters and nannies and booksellers. We’re the ones who spend their day jobs counting down until we can spend our nights doing our real work. The ones who work more than one job so that we can make ends meet, all so that we can continue making our art.
I’m not going to sit here and say that it doesn’t hurt when people scoff. When they dismiss your passion by saying I wish I had enough time to pursue my hobbies, too. When they look down on you for not having a “real job”. The truth is that those things do hurt; those comments burn and demoralize and shame something that is honest and pure and good. But you need to be stronger than all of that.
You are stronger than all of that.
People are going to try and kill your creativity; to stomp it out of you until you decide to move onto something more practical. They’ll try to make you believe that your creative endeavors are a burden, a cross to bear.
But remember that you can find success. You aren’t a failure just because your latest project just got rejected ten times and you are in no way destined for eternal failure if you aren’t in this moment where you want to be. You don’t need to listen to everyone else’s opinion, especially from those who you know will never understand.
Know that you are strong and you are fierce. Your creativity is a strength, not a folly, something you can use as a tool to guide you through life. Your creativity is something that will never steer your wrong.
Don’t let your dreams be swept aside for something that seems easier. Don’t become discouraged when your friends or parents or teachers tell you it’s a mistake to follow a creative path. Because there have been so many before us who have walked the same one, who have been faced with the same difficult ultimatums and challenges.
Aim to prove everyone else wrong. Let it be the fire that lights your many passions. See the beauty in your creative self, the integrity that it allows you. Your creativity is beautiful and all-encompassing. Protect it with your whole being. Don’t let them kill it.