Identifying a Sense of Possibility

As budding artists we are often reluctant to look beyond the narrow scope of the world we feel safe in and dream of what may become possible.  A great deal of my life has been defined by limitation, not feeling worthy of this mighty process of creation.  Feeling limited because I was from a cattle ranch, limited because I lived in a remote place like Montana where the creative spirit was not recognized and nobody wanted to visit, limited because I didn’t have enough money, limited because I was homosexual and felt like a lower class citizen, and now limited because I am aging and reluctant to possibly try to thrive in a young man’s world of male art.

There seemed to be no role models for me to follow who could guide me and as I mottled my way through the creative process.  I often gave up and abandoned those dreams because I just didn’t think I was worthy of the possibility that what I was working on would ever amount to anything.  I could recognize the impulse and could feel it buried deep within me, but I had no idea what was possible.  In a greater sense I lived only to the edge of my limitations.  Only taking baby steps forward, with long periods of adjustments to digest the accomplishments.  To stand where I stand now and now and look back I see how slow and painful the process became.  From the beginning I remember in my minds eye this was my elusive target, to stand where I stand at this moment.  I keep pondering: if I have always known what the target was, why did it take so long to get here?  I think it mostly had to do with confidence.  Living in Montana I had no peer group who could recognize what I was doing was of any value.  My work, though I continued to work on it, secretly, remained hidden and was created for my own satisfaction.  Never thinking it was very interesting or good at all, thus making the evolution slow and often painful.  I continued to look at other artists, see myself in their works, and grow by experimenting in their styles.  But it always somehow felt I could never quite find a place I belonged.  When I emulated someone else, my own work, always seem to fall sort, becoming not quite as interesting and thus creating yet another set back making me even more reluctant to show what I was creating.  It was only at the brink of despair, where my life felt it had ended, that I finally began to show the images, only because I had nothing left to lose.

I often wonder how many people create works in a vacuum that nobody sees.  How many people feel unworthy of the creative process?  How many people never begin the dream because it seems impossible?  How many people live lives stuck, without a means of expression?  Stuck in a job?  Stuck in a relationship?  Stuck in their own limitations?  I have always been a humble man and this has been me to the T, always stuck, always reluctant, living in the shadows of the theater, living in the fear of myself.

My advice now is: don’t be so judgmental of yourself, create the dream, name it, and follow it.  Somehow empower yourself with what you do.  I have made a lot of mistakes and created lots of truly bad images, but it is the process of growing so allow yourself to fail.  Allow that dream to extend beyond what you know and expand the vision to a limitless possibility.  Go for it; don’t wait until you become a middle-aged man to realize your potential.  But most important believe in it and work toward it every single day.