I learned my worth as an artist in helping create art with those who have forgotten how important it is. Alzheimer’s art therapy has been my art therapy. Proving when you create for the sake of creating, magic happens.
I was raised in an atmosphere that considered art an unimportant pursuit. An extra-curricular activity. You get a real job, art is a hobby. That’s not what you do to make money. And what you make isn’t worthy. Even to this day I struggle to find worth in my art, what I create. I have a hard time asking for compensation for what I create. That I only deserve money if it comes from a corporate job with a paycheck and governs my every move.
Why is it that many of us have this perception of ourselves. That we are less worthy because we don’t conform to some corporate mindset. That asking for compensation is offensive to the world of “legitimately employed adults”. I’m getting better at learning to ask. But I’m still not there. Still not comfortable taking money, compensation, barter for what I create with my soul. Partly because I have a hard time letting go of my creations and putting them out in the world for others to enjoy. Even though I get positive feedback from peers and strangers alike.
Whether it be my writing, painting, jewelry-making, or sculpting. What does it mean when being an artist is being a part of your identity? Why do we feel that we need to gather underground and be a subculture rather than main stream culture? Those of us who prefer to do it on our own without seeking recognition from a corporate entity, or societal whole. We are making art for the sake of making art because that’s what feeds our soul. Why is it unreasonable to ask for what we deserve? Which is compensation for our art, our time, our effort, our creations? Why do I feel like a nurse first, artist as an afterthought?
The answer is this: I ask. I ask for what I want. I ask for what I feel I deserve. I scream from rooftops that I am an artist and a nurse. And I do not have to feel less worthy of either passions. I can be everything I want to be. As new chapters open in my life, I will embrace the story as it unfolds.