When I started writing my spoken word poetry collection earlier this year, I had this constant nagging feeling that due to everything going on, it wasn't right for me to finish it.
It was about heartbreak - something that just didn't seem important enough compared to everything else that was going on in the world then, and now...like, not even in the top ten.
I tried to Google the issue, as if Google would give me some kind of magical measuring stick or some perfect timeline for when things would feel stable again. I typed in, "Is my work important right now?" which, as smart as Google is, it had no clear answer for.
I suppose what I was looking for was permission to complete it.
As a black, female, member of the LGBT community, there's almost always something I could be angry about if I wanted to be. There are countless injustices happening; and so many people, voiceless, disempowered and suffering. But there comes a time where most people will realise that we can't always carry all of this pain on our shoulders, because frankly, it is exhausting.
I know that for me personally, it could put me and my art into a box that I don't necessarily want to be in; contributing to a stereotype that most people tune out unless it's presented to them in different ways these days. I feel that sometimes it is more powerful to be a role model and to lead by example, in order to get into a position where you will actually be listened to, instead of ranting at a lower level forever and playing into people's hands.
So what I realised was that yes, there were more important things I could be protest about or champion or fight for in that moment -but to even have the energy to take on those battles, you sometimes have to create for yourself first; create things that sets your soul on fire, and that make you happy, or you'll burn out from all the stress (and that helps no one).
It's okay to create something even if the only reason you have to do it is because your heart tells you to.
Do it simply because your heart tells you to, because in doing so, you will open up your greatest revelations. And here's another great thing about all this:
You simply don't know how "important" your work might actually become until you do it.
Heartbreak might not seem all that important to write about in relation to other issues that were going on at the time in the world. Not even in the top #10. But at the time, when I was going through it? And to someone who is currently going through it right now? It is #1: the most important issue in the world.
I would never go up to someone and minimise their pain, or compare it to other issues that I believed were more important...so I have vowed not to do that to myself, or my art. I recognise now that importance is a completely subjective concept, and there is room for it all. I also recognised that:
"Not important enough" is simply another translation of the fear of actually creating something -- the fear of wasting time and failing.
But who knows where it could take you though if just this one time you ignored those fears that prevent you from even trying, and actually completed it? Because your work only has the potential to be worth anything if you, y'know, actually make it.
Most artists will tell you that it was the things they throw together in frustration that often turn out to become one their most popular pieces, treasured and loved by their fans.
It's not really your duty to analyse the thing you're being told to create by the Universe. Ridiculous or serious, fiction or non, art is a bold statement in the world about your personal freedom, about the way you are choosing to express yourself, and about your power to speak out.
So, this is me, giving you permission to create the art you want.
Your latest work might be the single piece of work that changes your life.
You literally, simply don't know...but this is your permission to try.
Everything you love today was once nothing but a doubtful idea in the mind of a neurotic creator.Read More