today i submitted another residency proposal and requested the paperwork to defer my student loan (again). i'm trying to find ways to parlay the one residency offer i've received in to other opportunities. it's amazing what one little nod of encouragement can do. suddenly, it's not such a chore to send off a proposal. suddenly, my dreams feel serious again and i feel the need to run toward a new future with every ounce of sweat and love i've got.
still, it's scary. but it's also exhillerating, and i think maybe the time has come to let myself be a bit shaken up again. i'm very comfortable in my daily life. i don't get as much art made or as much writing done as i'd like, but i'm not unhappy. i like my job. i like the people i work with. i have fun everyday. but when i think about waiting tables for the next 3 years rather than traveling, or rather than going to grad school, or rather than moving to new york and just committing to making it work... i feel deflated. i think somewhere along the line, maybe around the start of the year, i decided to coast. and maybe i needed that. maybe i needed a bit of ease and a lot of fun. maybe i needed a break from all the big worries, all the pressure i generally feel to make each second MEAN SOMETHING. it gets to be too much after awhile. a person needs to spend a bit of time in shallow waters every now and then.
over the course of the last few days, i return again and again to something my father used to say to me: "follow your first dreams first." he's right. that's exactly what a person should do. that's exactly what an artist needs to do. i know that i'll be waiting tables for the next few years but the question is really about where and what for? what dreams are being financed? what opportunities does being a waiter allow me to take advantage of? which opportuniies am i chasing and creating for myself along the way? and am i inspired by the life that surrounds me?
more and more, i've come to the knowledge that for the last several years i've been living a half-in, half-out kind of life, not fully committed to anything (other than art), ready to leave things and people behind at a moments notice if need be. thankfully, i haven't needed to do such a thing but i'm more troubled/compelled by the fact that i was ready to. i don't want to be that way. for a time, it was necessary to be non-committal. i needed it for my own protection while i healed from past hurts... but i'm not planted here. i love oakland yet i resist putting down real roots. my mind and heart both pull hard toward a different city and the only thing that's keeping me in oakland at this point is fear of the unknown. i'm selling myself short. i'm keeping my dreams on the back-burner and the longer i keep them there, the easier it becomes to simply leave them there. and doing this means i'm not truly committed to my dreams. i'm not taking myself seriously. i seem to have fallen prey to the delusion that there will always be time for certain things later. i know for a fact that's not true and it surprises me that i can even think this way.
doris lessing said, "whatever you're meant to do, do it now. the conditions are always impossible."
i'm trying to hold on to this, let it challenge and steel me and make me brave. one day i'm going to die and i want to use my time on this planet as beautifully and effectively as i can. i don't want to be a person who shies away from risk. i know from my own past experiences that it is on the other side of risk where real happiness is found. and not just happiness, but self-respect and self-knowledge. i know that the adventure is always worth it. i've got to let my steam build. it's an artist's life i want, and it's an artist's life i'm built for.
these texts are an archive of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area from march 2007 - march 2015. it stands as a record of close to a decade of my life, charting the struggles i faced as an artist, daughter, and lover. messy and chaotic at times, eloquent and poetic at others, these texts are an index i am proud of. it was here in this electric box that i learned how to be honest about my experiences and the person i needed to become. it was here that i first learned the truism that words make the world and how to trust such a beautiful, rife, hard fact.
thank you for meeting me here in such tall grass.
my artist website is here.
my artist website is here.