Hello from The Inside
After the publication of the introduction to The Maeve Mind, I was inspired by the positive feedback I had received to create more content. I spent nearly every evening in a local coffee shop, painstakingly making edits and creating content for future posts. I considered it a labor of love to the artistic community, a community that has given me so
much over the years. I definitely didn’t want to disappoint my friends cheering me on from the sidelines as I packed yet another project onto my docket. Then, almost out of nowhere, COVID-19 brought everything around me (and everything on the earth) to a screeching halt.
This part of the story isn’t unique. I have been in quarantine since California enacted a mandatory Shelter in Place order mid-March, like a lot of other places that have opted into social distancing as the means to “flatten the curve”. Little by little, I watched panic ripple around the circus community and amongst various friend groups. I stood idly by as all circus training spaces started temporarily shutting their doors (at least, temporarily is the hope since so many spaces are run on tight budgets) and performers started seeing emptied calendars from events cancelled left and right. As much as my heart absolutely breaks knowing so many fellow artists are struggling, this is where I started to feel alienated from very communities I had poured blood, sweat and tears into.
And here is when gremlins and imposter syndrome started to take control over my ability to write.
Like many people living in urban areas, I have a source of income independent to anything that could be considered art. I have never made all of my livelihood, or most of it for that matter, from performance art, teaching circus or writing. Like many artists, I have a day job I affectionately (and sometimes backhandedly) call my “muggle job”. Because of the source of my salary is from my day job, I started feeling like I couldn’t be an artist if I, too, wasn’t struggling the way the rest of the community seemed to be. My imposter syndrome and guilt started showing up in every possible shape. For the first time in years, I actively started hiding away from any and all creative expression, deeming myself as “not worthy”. I removed my presence from the communities I had fought tooth and nail to be in. After a few weeks of this, the clouds parted briefly and I had an "aha!" moment. You know, one of those moments that you facepalm slightly and accept that the answers were right in front of you the whole time.
I realized if it was possible for me to feel this way, then I could not be the only one.
I am on my soapbox today to tell you that you are a valid artist, always. Yes, you, the person with the full time job and the various side hustles unrelated to their creative side. Even if you don’t make the base of your income from your art, you are still an artist. The art lives in you, and its value doesn’t need to be restricted to monetary value. Even when so many of us are cut off from the ability to create in normal ways, I hope you find the fire to ensure the survival of your inspiration.
If you’re a professional, full time artist that has had to take a step back from making all income from art because of COVID, you are still an artist. Do not think your worth is lessened by needing to take a step back to survive and regain your footing. In addition, if you find that you would like to take a break from your profession to regroup and follow different opportunities that are better for you right now, I hope you make the shift with pride. It’s okay if your goals change. If you find what you’ve worked for no longer aligns with long term aspirations, I hope you are able to do the shift from self-compassion and love. You are still an artist and choosing what you think is best for you does not diminish this.
We are all doing our best with the tools we have available to us. The whole world is shifting in ways that will make many of us question our futures as well as our goals. Nonetheless, it is indisputable: our world needs art on a consistent basis to thrive. Moreover, the world needs your art. If it's of one quality I am certain artists share: we are resilient. We shall persist. Thank you for doing the work.