What do I want in 2013? To be fearless with my creativity
Resolutions have never been a priority of mine. In fact, neither have definitive life goals.
To quote my favorite Talking Heads song, I've mostly meandered through life with my "feet on the ground, head in the sky." I was told to dream big by the regrets of my mother, the foolhardiness of my father, and the fantastical fairy tales of the films and books I immersed myself in as an only child growing up in a small, snow-blanketed upstate New York town.
Some of those dreams I've surprisingly achieved (I worked in Hollywood, I co-wrote a film and have met the majority of my creative idols I look up to), while others will always maintain a fantasy. (Considering I can't act my way out of a paper bag, becoming Diane Keaton is no longer an ambition.)
With the help of mentors and heroes, I've reached a point where I no longer ask if what I'm doing is good enough, right enough or best enough. I just do it.
However, there stands the possibility that a subconscious resolution has been riding shotgun with me through the years — a resolution that has not yet come to full fruition but matures more year by year. It's the resolution to be fearless with my creativity.
As a child, without the reality of criticism or heartbreak rearing its ugly head, I unflinchingly created every day. Piano ditties, ugly ceramic sculptures that looked like rejects from Where the Wild Things Are, VHS music videos of me pretending to be Jerry Lee Lewis, drawings of asymmetrical people with hugely disproportion heads — none of these achievements was particularly good, but no one ever told me that, and most certainly no one told me to stop creating.
This window remained open until the icky, gray period of self-doubt and low self-esteem flew in one day, and I watched as my artistic bravery got pushed to the wayside. I wish I could say that occurred in my teenage years, but during my adolescence, I was still blissfully ignorant to the judgment of myself and from others. No, it was during my college years when the unpalatable act of "comparing myself to others" took hold and didn't let go until many years later.
I figured as an early twentysomething, what could I possibly create that would make me stand apart from the rest? I lacked wisdom, I lacked experience and, most important, I lost my self-confidence somewhere along the road to becoming an adult. For the first half of my third decade in life, I created nothing and unknowingly spent that whirlwind of emotional cataclysm learning who I was both as a person and as an artist.
When the light appeared at the end of the tunnel I had been blindly feeling my way through, I sprinted as fast as I could toward it, which is where I stand now. With the help of mentors and heroes, I've reached a point where I no longer second guess myself; I no longer ask if what I'm doing is good enough, right enough or best enough.
I just do it. That means that what I create — a piece of art, words on a paper or any other project that strikes my fancy — is not always impressive, but I'm okay with that because half the battle is just getting myself to make it.
There is great pride with visualizing a project and seeing it through to the end. Though they may not always be winners, by creating enough, you're bound to find a few sparkling diamonds in the rough. With that mentality, in 2012, I became self-employed, made a movie, wrote several national and international articles, and created a laundry list of long-term projects I can't wait to get started on.
I'm learning as I get older that the majority of people want to create, but their fears prevent them from doing so. Imagine all the incredible art that will never be introduced to this world! We can bemoan that we don't have the time or money, but I call hogwash! It strictly boil downs to self-doubt.
In 2013, I vow to continue living my creative life to the fullest, and so should you. You only have one shot at this life. What do you have to lose?