I had full-on insomnia last night. By this I mean I got to sleep at around 4AM which means it will cloud my day with a haze of floaty drowsiness and slightly blurry mental processing.
I wasn’t anxious. Or I didn’t feel anxious. It could even be excitement over the anticipated continuation of yesterday’s discovered sense of freedom. Or perhaps the stress stayed mental without trickling to the heart — just all the practical problem plotting and attempts at preparedness but without the particular flavour of doom and despair that often comes from the heart.
In any case, I finally fell asleep while reading — which in itself was another good thing about yesterday. I got back to reading with the hint of the old familiar zest. Because somehow finally I was able to just sit still and read and did not constantly nag myself at how could I read when my life is on fire and no one’s coming to the rescue.
Well, the books are going to rescue me in one way. The art and the art shop will rescue me in another way. Music will do its thing too but I haven’t opened my Spotify since the new year began because Yoji-kun has his place and moment and I cannot be too much of a mess when I let him in because that will only make things worse than worst.
(Yoji-kun is tangled into the soul of my art and stories and thus cannot be invoked lightly.)
Yesterday I realised that I do want to evolve my art and that I have been holding myself back because of a misplaced idea of consistency and “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. I realise that many rules don’t apply to a creative life and to an artist’s work. Because it is the nature of art to break boundaries and is not bound by just one set of ways of being and becoming. Before it is a “brand" it is first itself which at its core is born of the deep chaos of the soul. It cannot be locked ahead into an essence. It has to be allowed to grow, to die, to be reborn, to grow again, to shapeshift.
Hence I have to be impervious to the oft well-meaning but reckless comments of “I like your old work better.”, “You should do more of the other style.”, and even “Your new work is much better, good thing you got over the previous style they were too [insert a descriptor here that is probably what I actually wanted at that time and they didn’t think of that]”.
See how much I pay too much care on what others think and say? I’m fixing it now. It’s going to take a while. But I’m working on it. I am watching myself kindly and reminding myself gently.
I received a text message informing me that there is a meeting tomorrow. This is for my small sideline dayjob work which I do not mind so much. It pays very little but it’s still something to pay the bills with. Most importantly it does not scar my spirit even though the hours it takes can occasionally sting — but only because I have not really sat down to plot out its defined place in my daily life. Once I determine that then I can inform the person who hired me on how we can best mutually benefit from my working with them. I have to speak out and speak up now for every dayjob work I have to do. I have to set the boundaries. I have to claim the fruits and rewards I have fairly earned from almost thirty years of work experience and expertise in my field. I am past the stage of proving my worth like a fresh college graduate and I should not be behaving like I am always begging for approvals.
…if we had carried out a fair assessment of our strengths and decided upon our value, another’s suggestion that we were inconsequential would not wound us. We would know our worth. (Alain de Botton, Status Anxiety)
Today I will flow like I did yesterday. With a few level-ups. More art and art shop work — and this time throw out all the self-defeating rules I have set for myself. Proceed with freedom and peace of mind. Show up and share. Keep reading.
And maybe, maybe, listen to one song.