FEAR

This morning a fellow artist posted a meme about fear.

Hmmm, thinking about this … I think, when it comes to fear, depending upon your stage in life, fear can change …

Imagine a young person just moving out of a loving, secure home facing the exciting world of adulthood and freedom, full of hope. As long as the world treats them well they might live a life without fear.

Imagine that same person later in life, beaten down by the fears that their youthful hopes have become impossible dreams.

Then, imagine that person in older age. Is there really much point in looking forward when those dreams of your youth are no longer realistic. And there is no going back. All we can really do is pass on our experiences and our stories in the hope that we might help someone else along their path. For that we need Intergenerational contact. Otherwise, what is there to live for?

If I were to have a dialogue with a younger artist what could I say about fear?

And if that younger artist were me, if I could reach back in time and talk to myself, what might I say?

So what might I say?

I might tell that younger person to be very, very afraid of things like injustice and greed. I’d probably tell her not to run away from these but to fight back, to not ignore negative messages, hoping things might get better.

I’d tell her to not be afraid to stand up for her own beliefs, especially in the face of bullying. As for abuse or violence or revenge, I’d tell her to walk away from these, not in fear but in gratitude that she is able to recognize and avoid such paths.

Most of all, I’d tell her she needs nobody’s permission to call herself an artist.

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Boxes

Was it Steve Jobs who first made us aware that we were living inside of boxes? I’m not sure. But it’s so hard to be sure of anything in this changing world, isn’t it? I guess none of us likes being defined by the boxes to which life consigns us. But hey, that’s life.

Two of the boxes that most define me nowadays are Artist & Senior.

I chose neither of these. The first box is one I was born into and shaped to fit because of the family and society that raised me. The second is the box everyone of us is forced into should they live long enough.

I was advised long ago to shed that artist box and get a real job. I really tried but over and over potential employers discovered that I was only pretending not to be an artist. As I grew older and society began to measure me for my senior box things began to get really uncomfortable.

Being an artist had been difficult enough but until I became a senior I had no idea how it felt to be a true outcast. But I’ve been a lone survivor for a very long time.

Over the past few weeks I’ve made an attempt to contact other survivors like myself, those floating about in their own boxes, trying to find a friendly shore on which to land and build something suitable and worthwhile.

I thought there was a solid shore but I guess that was merely an illusion. So these days I just float, imagining that somewhere out there are other artists, some like myself who have at most 20 or 30 more years of life, perhaps 10 more years of making art. I’m trying not to be sad over this failure. At least I tried.