The Shame of Being an Artist
I hate meeting new people. Introductions are awkward. My name is Blanca, not Bianca, Monica or Veronica. Blanca. I don’t give a damn about the weather and I don’t want to tell a stranger about my weekend. Nowadays when people ask me what do I do, I don’t know what to say. College gave me the respectable title of “college student”, I miss that. I can only say “I just graduated college” for so long before it becomes untrue. I never tell people that I’m an artist, because I’m ashamed.
I think there is a stigma that comes from being an artist. I feel as though people in general see me (us) as lazy, unintelligent, pretentious, useless, and crazy. I don’t even feel as though I can call myself an artist because I’m not supporting myself or getting paid for my art. I don’t know what to answer when asked “What do you do?” What am I doing? Just kind of flailing around and trying to figure out who I am.
I have a war going on in my mind all the time. I didn’t know how to articulate it until I read Carl Jung.
There is one part of me that always likes to tell me how childish and selfish I am. It tells me how art is stupid, I’m stupid and It’s stupid how deep I’ve gotten into this hole of being an artist. It reminds me all the time how I’m never going to be able to support myself, have meaningful relationships or start a family. It’s brutal. The other part of me has no voice, but it’s the stronger of the two. It’s an instinct to create art. I don’t know if it gives me comfort to know that making art is just an innate part of my being, or if it terrifies me.
I’m never going to be able to work a normal 9-5 job. I tried it for a month in August and I got sick. I really did believe that I was going to be able override my instincts for a while and focus on making money. I really did want to believe that if worst came to worst I would be able to work any old secure job and keep art as a hobby. That’s not the case at all. I was good at my job but I cried all the time, sometimes in front of people. I overate, overslept and dry-heaved in the shower every day. I couldn’t think about or make art for a month and I was not doing well. I had to quit and deal with the new emerging shame of being a quitter but I did learn something about myself. I am an artist wheather I like it or not.