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Accepting Ourselves… and our true delights

Sometimes as artists, we practice a self-loathing aesthetic that is like what adolescents do in terms of their physicality. This is a self-loathing that sets in and says whatever we are, it is not as good or as beautiful as whatever it is the other one has. If we are small, dark and exotic, we want to be tall and bland and blonde. If we are a Nordic goddess, we wish our eyes were brown and not cobalt and that our skin looked like a sultry Gauguin. In other words, whatever we are is not what we wish ourselves to be. Comedians yearn for drama; dramatic actors crave comedy. Born short-story writers lust for the National Book Award for their novels; natural novelists scream for the stage. Not that we can't do more than one thing, but one of the things we should let ourselves do is what comes naturally and easily.

So why don't we?

Art is not programmatic. We cannot "improve" ourselves into great artists by doing creative sit-ups. Great artists are actually the greatest amateurs-- from the Latin verb amare, "to love." They have learned to wriggle out of the seriousness of rigid categorization and allow themselves to pursue the Pied Piper of delight.

If we stop trying to improve ourselves and start trying to delight ourselves, we get further as artists. If we lean into what we love instead of soldiering toward what we "should," our pace quickens, our energy rises, optimism sets in. What we love is nutritious for us.

"We are all born children-- the trick is remaining one." -Pablo Picasso