Know thyself, the artist within

Natural born artists know who they are from the day they enter this world, full of purpose and zero self awareness. Like the hidden figure in some mystery novels, they feel themselves tourists in the stories of people they encounter, leaving behind imprints of their mark.  This is what fuels them to create, to regurgitate the stories they’ve collected, to squeeze out the sponges of emotions that build up after each encounter.  Sometimes they pour out of us onto paper, splash across canvas, find shape in countless sculptures that will rarely see the light of day.

I, like many artists, went to college to study art but found myself quickly bored out of my skull. It’s not that history lacks entertainment or that the course material wasn’t engaging - I just wasn’t in the right mind space to soak it all up.  Within the first semester, I simply never came back and the world of adult responsibilities and expectations quickly took over and spun me off course.  This is how most of us end up in parallel industries like marketing, we’re convinced we picked the best of both worlds because the job vaguely combines creativity and the abilities to make a living. I call bullshit.

The problem a lot of artists face in this age is complex to say the least.  It takes years to truly know yourself, which unfortunately can only be a result of self reflection.  We don’t all have the luxury to sit around pontificating our existence because we convince ourselves and society too, that it is in fact a luxury and not a necessity.  How many more stereotypical tales of burnouts and breakdowns must we hear about or experience first hand before we all collectively admit we need to slow down, shut the fuck up and look within to solve our problems.

How can we be expected to create anything truly beautiful or genuine or raw if we are bombarded by pressure. You know what I’m referring to, that pressure of productivity, of appearing as though you have your shit together, that you and your projects and podcasts and vegan friendly dog treat website are going to change the world.  Your life is taken over by content schedules you created to make your Instagram look like it matches your ideal version of yourself.  Unfortunately, to actually get that life you want you’re going to have to stop lying to yourself and stop keeping busy and actually face all your shit. 

Face your darkness head on, look past the walls you’ve built that hide the memories and moments that scare you.  The fear you feel is greater than the experience that fear protects.  As artists, we must be in direct contact with our own proverbial dark side of the moon while still maintaining an aesthetic relatable enough for the masses.  All in the hopes that they will still be able to look at our art, step back, turn to their friend and say “this guy gets me”.

Let go of that imaginary picture in your head of you in the future, successful, getting accolades for beautiful works of art.  Genuine success follows any earnest attempt to express ones vision.  You may find out you have everything it takes to be one of the greats, if you only stop trying so hard and doubting yourself at the same time - accept yourself as you are and realize your fears and insecurities are completely unfounded and you created your problems all on your own.  Take comfort here, in this moment of realization - if you have the power to create your problems, you too have the power to create the solutions.

Accept the sacrifice that you must withdraw from the life you’ve built to project unto the world what you want them to see and start doing the work to actually build that life for yourself.  To create, to destroy, to grow, to outgrow.  Never be satisfied with the given circumstance, the possibilities are endless, go forth and create them.  Know thyself, the artist within.

Tatiana Filin is a remote life coach, writer, artist, and entrepreneur. Read more of her work here or follow her on instagram at @tatcoaches .