When I was a boy, I used to think that everyone knew how to milk a cow.
I mean…don’t you?
I only thought this sort of thing because that was what my dad did twice a day, every single day of my life. I got to help lots, so it was a complete surprise that, when I would talk to my friends at elementary school about cows, I’d get lots of blank looks.
Eventually, when you realize that you’re involved in something that not many people around you are, a funny thing happens.
You stop talking about it.
It’s more because of social reasons than anything else, I suppose…you get the standard questions about how to milk a cow, and then….there isn’t much to talk about. So..you talk about something else. About television, or something.
An interesting side effect of this is that you stop THINKING about it. It becomes essentially invisible and goes underground. When people ask you what you do for a living, you tell them about your job. You don’t mention cows at all.
When you do something that not many other people do or understand, not mentioning it becomes comfortable. You avoid the same pointless questions and the “not-quite-fitting” answers.
You’re also denying what could be the most important part of yourself. You may not realize that you are ALSO denying the other person the knowledge that there are even artists AROUND.
Don’t do that.
Being an artist is like being a priest or a poet. It is a reminder that creative power is REAL in the world, and that people are born into this particular faith all of the time. You aren’t honoring your gift or yourself by sheltering it from the world. You and your art were MADE for the world. Your art NEEDS the world.. The world NEEDS your art.
The world needs you.
So, why not start by calling yourself one? Why not, if only in a whisper before you turn the lights on in the morning, you tell yourself “I am an artist”? Instead of being someone who works a job and does art on the side, why not be someone who is an ARTIST with a day job?
Who knows….you might even remember that you used to think of yourself as an artist once. That you were one of the kids whose hand shot up when a teacher would ask “Do we have any artists in the class?”
Remember who you are. BE an artist.
You have nothing to lose.