Currently I am in the retreating phase of one of my creative waves. That means I am contemplating my work, its themes, the things I am exploring and why. And just now I realised that I have been operating on a scale of authenticity and connection. And that maybe now the time has come for me to step out of that scale.
A scale of authenticity and connection?
What do I mean with a scale of authenticity and connection when it comes to my art practice? I feel like I am constantly balancing the authenticity of my work with how it will or won’t connect with others. Let me give you an example. When I come up with something to make I also immediately think about how others will react to it. And whether it may be defining me as something or someone to other people. As a result depending on how I feel I will choose to compromise the authenticity of my work. Or I will choose to push through with a sort of devil-may-care attitude.
I now feel that this doesn’t suit me no more. Neither ways: no pushing and no compromising or self-censuring my creativity.
My understanding of this scale within my work up until now
For the first time in my life I am being totally okay with being in this retreating phase. Contemplating, silent, processing. Being okay with it took it to a whole different level of contemplating. I started looking at my artistic practice and the way how I connect with my own work.
I now understand that I have been connecting with my work the same way as I have learned to bond with people as a child: co-dependently.
What is codependency?
Codependency is an unsafe attachment style adopted by children who cannot bond with their parents/caregivers in a healthy, loving way. Codependency makes you want to manipulate other’s opinions of you for your own good (your own sense of being loved). Rather than developing a sense of authentic self love and self respect. In essence: you need others to love you in order to be able to love yourself. And you will do anything to ensure they will. Even compromising yourself.
This of course is a recipe for disaster when it comes to developing a strong sense of self. And of self-expression. Because codependency leaves you in a place of constant worry. Worry about how others are perceiving you and whether they will still love you tomorrow.
The art of letting go
Now that I am healing from all kinds of unconstructive patterns I am able to discover those patterns in my artistic practice as well. Suggesting that my art exists on a scale of authenticity and connection is in a way deeply codependent. At the same time I understand that as an artist you’re not operating on an island. And that most of us actually do create art to feel connected. Whether it is with nature, with our inner world and/or with the souls of others). I now understand as well that the purpose of connection can never be the cause of compromising your authenticity. Because only from creating through that strong sense of authentic expression you will experience true connection.
Choose authenticity and connection will follow
So, from now on I will be practicing the art of letting go. Making art because I feel it wants to be made through me and subsequently letting it go. Allowing it to have its own journey once it’s out of my hands. Meeting and connecting with like minded souls, whoever that may be.
I will be winking at them from a distance, wishing them well while creating new art.