“Art is not a thing, it is a way.”
While growing up, I was always unsure of what I wanted to do when I “get older.” I was always switching from different professions like teacher, lawyer, judge, therapist, etc. I never seemed to be able to settle on one career and was gradually feeling like there was something wrong with me. Even worse, maybe there was no career for me at all! I know that sounds absurd but I truly felt this way, I thought “God, what on earth am I supposed to do with the rest of my life!?” Not having an immediate answer frustrated me for years and brought me down spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
This year I have been diligently trying to understand more about myself, God, and what I am meant to do. It says in James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Its amazing how transparent that scripture truly is but I always somehow thought it was impossible for me to attain. I thought I had to pray a certain way (one that I thought I could never seem to figure out) for God to bless me with His wisdom. But it turns out, all I had to do was simply ask and seek for it. As I have been pursuing what’s in my heart and what’s truly in God’s heart, He has given me wisdom so freely and effortlessly. So many questions have been answered.
As I said before, I deeply struggled with the grand concept of “what I am meant to do”. I literally have had a countless number of jobs from a very wide spectrum – some I loved, some I hated. While I am fortunate to have had so much experience in such a short amount of time that shaped me into a better, more well rounded individual, I really never felt alive working any of those jobs. I have been doing photography and writing pretty consistently now for 3 years, and I am in love with it. It gives me so much inspiration and life but yet I still had this nagging feeling that I needed something more of a “real” job. Growing up in public school, I was left with the understanding that art was something people just had or did as a hobby. Public school never encouraged the idea that you could be an artist, or that some people are born artists. Everything was geared towards focusing on a more “core” styled education. The core classes (math, english, history, and science) took ultimate triumph over everything else.…unless you were a jock. Art was seen only as an elective and could easily be cut out as it was not thought of as mandatory or even necessary to one’s education. I knew I always loved dance, and writing, and for a period I really loved theatre, but as the public school and ignorant people around me so told me, I viewed this as just a hobby and something I could never do for a career… and certainly never make a living off of it. So that left me in a box with no options to stimulate my creative mind.
I tried going to school for psychology once I graduated high school, and soon hated it. While I do think psychology is fascinating, I don’t think I was meant to become a therapist or a psychologist. I stopped going to school and sort of gave up on the traditional ‘academic’ way of living – as it had not worked for me my entire life.
I think in my heart I always knew I was an artist. Recently, it finally became clear that’s what I am meant to do. While expressing my excitement and new revelation to Hayden, he was surprised but in an odd way. He said, “you didn’t already know that?” I didn’t. As we talked further into it (as we always do) I realized why this realization was so masked and hard for me to see. Society andespecially public school had such a deep effect on this subject – it manipulated me, to be frank, into believing there is only one way to live, only one sort of way to have a career that being academic and only one way to achieve that, being college.
Truth be told, if I had never met Hayden I feel like I might still be struggling. There is no doubt in my mind that God sent him to me, not only so we can be together, but so he could help me and let me see and understand that not only is there is a world outside of standard academics, but I am meant to live in it.
Hayden went to public elementary and middle school, but he always had a strong focus in drumming. He thought of himself more than just a drummer or even a musician though, he viewed himself as an artist. He auditioned for HSPVA (High School for the Performing & Visual Arts) in Houston, and naturally, got in. I’ll save his story for him to tell – but long story short, that school played a major part in his life, his art, his mind, everything. After HSPVA he auditioned for Berklee College of Music in Boston and naturally, again, got in on a full presidential scholarship.
Before Hayden, I had never met anyone like him. I had never met anyone who was so enriched in art and dripping with creativity. Hayden was bored by the “typical” idea of being a Berklee performance major and decided instead to study music business, a major that oddly enough is viewed by his peers as “stale” and “uncreative”. He being who he is, he challenged himself to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors as if they are art, with such creativity it blows me away. But anyways, I could go on forever about him.
What I am saying is Hayden opened me up to the idea and understanding that art is just as much of a valid path to take as an academic one. Hearing his great experiences going to an art high school and what it did for him at such a crucial age in life made me reflect and realize what a poor job public school does for all future artists. And it made me realize thats why for so long I put myself in this box that was only setting me up for failure.
Figuring all of this out clicked and made perfect sense; That I am an artist, with every aspect of my being. Not only in my photography and my writing but in the way I dress, the way I decorate, the way I think, the way I talk, the way I am. I am an artist. There is no way around that. I am so over the moon with this awareness that I have now. Because now I can really give myself and my art everything I have to offer. Whereas before I would hold back, almost saving bits of myself for this academic future that I am never going to have.
And I know, what the skeptics and the critics are thinking. Being an artist is hard, there is no doubt about that. I know it often doesn’t pay well, and that nothing is given to you. I know that the world caters easier to the academics and to the artists we are left with scraps. But I am okay with that. I don’t think I could live any other way. Because with art, for me, it goes so much deeper than money ever will. While the world on the surface caters to the academic, it is the art that makes the world go round. I have no question that this road is a challenging one, it already has been, but it has also already been a more rewarding road for me as well.
“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who, with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun.”