I am a writer. I always have been, I always will be. It is something inside me that doesn’t give me a choice but to arrange and rearrange sentences, and edit pieces, and manipulate letters into words – some which string together to transfer a simple thought or idea from my mind to a page, others which come together to change someone, many more that exist to change me.
I am change. I am movement. I am a step in a direction leading towards an end I do not know. An end I hope I never know. To know the end is to be stagnant. To know the end is to have the present predicted. You cannot write an epilogue without knowing the full story, and to know the full story, you must know the details, the affects, the characters and scenarios, the surprise turns and the sudden twists. To know the end is to accept that life has been written, and will be as is, and cannot be altered.
To know the end is to believe you cannot be altered.
And you can be altered.
There is a belief that a person is incapable of change. I don’t believe that, though. If change were impossible, if a person is forever resigned to be the same as they are at one point in their life, there would be no hope. There would be no chance of something better, or becoming someone better. There would be no healing.
We are brought into the world without an option. We come into it, and for a while, we have no means of choice. We simply know need, and anything beyond that is inconceivable.
We grow. Our speech develops, our eyes learn to focus, our senses learn to recognize familiar sounds, smells, taste. We come to understand that what is not seen may still exist. We learn our capabilities, and we learn our boundaries. Some of us devote our lives to crossing these boundaries; others of us are content within the lines.
Elementary school friends are where we get the beginning indications that not all families are built from the same kind of dirt, and not all of us have the same kind of comfort. We sense the inkling of something else, better or worse, than what we have, and what we are.
The coming to terms with what you are, and deciding if that’s who you want to be, and deciding if that’s whom you’re going to be, happens then. The part where we choose what we believe and what we do. What we are. It’s all a part of this growing up thing that we can’t hide from, that we can’t avoid. That we can’t put off.
Growing up is difficult and sometimes it hurts like bloody hell.
I told you I am a writer. Did I tell you I am an artist?
But I never knew it until now. I had always envied those ‘artists’ among us, those with the fingertips that are one with the imagination, those who feel deeply enough to allow pieces of their souls to impress upon human senses through color, dance, imagery; those who can stir a something from a nothing.
Art is a beautiful thing, wondrous and unique in its effects. It is unique to you, as it is to me, as it is to him, and her, and them. It is personal.
Art is the expression of the mind, of what moves us at the core of our being. To bring out what is inside, to live to truth, is art – be it in any form. Travel, painting, music, writing, design, family, friendships, cooking, teaching… if it is what moves inside of you, if it is what you create, what you build, what draws you in and what brings you out, this is art.
The way you live your life is art.
The decisions you make are like strokes of a paintbrush against a blank canvas. The curves of the strokes, the lines, the points, the colors… they represent something. They represent you. They paint a picture of your soul. Every decision, every movement, every thought, feeling, habit, they are all a part of this work of art that is you.
Much of my art is dark. Dark colors, dark descriptions, straight lines. Mysterious and private, and if you read them, you’ll feel like you’re looking in on a secret, maybe one you shouldn’t know about.
Other pieces are painted with the colors of the sky and the sea. They are made of colors and shapes and stories that capture my desire for freedom; they represent the ocean and the clouds, a part of my soul that I have clung to for inspiration, for comfort, for reminders of hope when I feel a weariness hanging over me.
Others of these works of art are more precise, blander. They articulate little, and reveal nothing. They exist as objects and not much more.
I identify myself in these. I feel as though they are tethered to my heart in a way, as though they are extensions of who I am.
Don’t all artists feel this way? That this thing, whatever it is, that we created, as separate and distinct an object it may be, remains attached to us forever?
What is it we are creating? What is it we are releasing into the world? What is it we are crafting?
As artists, as creators, we must strive for this – we must offer what is real, even if it is ugly, or unpopular, or risky. We must give what hurts. Even when it is painful, and it threatens our comfort or our ease, we must give from the most sincere parts of ourselves.
What hurts most to give has the greatest power to heal.
We must be authentic.
I told you I am a writer, and an artist. Did I tell you also that I am hope? It is not just me, though. It is not just my work or my creation or my words. It is me, together with you, together with us, together with them, bound as one, giving of ourselves. We are art. We are hope. We represent something. We offer something.
And isn’t that what we are about? Isn’t that what we exist for, to stand beside each other, and to build with each other, and to form together? To dance together as fluidly as a river towards the sea; to be motion.
We are motion.
We are human. We are feeling, and thought, and creation. We are art.
There are so many lies, and so many false images; so much created that is fake. To be authentic in this age is a rare gem. To find beauty in our own art, without feeling the need to compare it, to hide it or to destroy it, is a battle in our own hearts.
We destroy ourselves so often because we do not find contentment in the pictures we’ve painted of our lives. We have forgotten to paint hope into our lives. We have forgotten to be transparent. We have forgotten to be real. It is in these real images that we find true satisfaction, because we are giving of our real selves.
It is not easy to be see-through. It is not easy to reveal our raw parts, our struggles, and our discouragements. It is not easy to face our pain. Especially when we have the ability to offer something much prettier, much shinier, with brighter and more vibrant colors.
Something much easier.
Now is not the time for easy. The longer we rely on our ability to produce what is easy, and what is light, and what is comfortable, the further we will go from our need to be hope. For those who struggle, for those who hurt, for those who cannot yet give what hurts, who cannot yet face their pain – it is for them that we must be artists of hope. It is for them that we must be brave in what we create, honest in what we represent, truthful in what we tell.
We must do what is difficult to do.
I told you I am a writer, and an artist. I told you that I, with you, am hope.
Did I tell you that you are an artist? That you have the power to create. That you have the strength to look up, to stand before a blank canvas, and to throw your heart and soul into it? Maybe it comes out entirely grey, a portrait of uncertainty and mental fog. Maybe it comes out as a burst of color. Maybe it comes out in long stories, or maybe it comes out in one word. Maybe it is a midnight stroll or a sunrise run. Maybe it is a table you sanded down, or a tree you planted, or chocolate melted.
Maybe it is a backpack and a highway, or the strings of a guitar, or mountains peaks blanketed with snow. Maybe it is your evening tea. Maybe it is the way you hold yourself when you walk into a room. Maybe your canvas is blank. Don’t let it stay blank. You are an artist.
You are change. You are movement. You are a step in a direction leading towards an end you do not need to know.
You are a part of the greatest portrait of all time. You are a part of something that is massive, and challenging, and beautiful. Something vast.
You are hope.
Do not be afraid to be hope.
I am a writer. So much of who I am is written into my characters.
But it is not always easy, and I often put off stories and ideas because I am afraid that of digging as deeply inside of myself, and revealing as much as I might have to about myself.
But this is no time for weakness, is it?
I am an overcomer – I fought depression, and eating disorders, and anxiety that ate at me from the inside out. I fought to keep relationships, and to remember why I wake up in the morning. I fought to remember why I write.
Be who you are. Exist, as you are, in yourself, in your own portrait, your own painting.
Weave pieces of yourself into everything that you do, everything that you create. Search yourself, and find what it is you offer. Give it freely.
Be open. Be broken. It is in broken art that we are made whole.
It is with each other, together.
Me, together with you, together with us, together with them, bound together.
We are artists.
We are hope.