I recently met with a gent who is involved in the art community in Austin to review my work and talk about my vision, goals, etc. Not sure if I “qualified” for a gallery or show wherein my works might be spotlighted, I figured I’d tap some folks with more info of the scene and get to work on the presumed list of things to do to get one’s foot in the door…someday down the road, if ever. The surprising depth of his questions not only forced me to honestly look at what I’ve been creating over the years, but his frank feedback compelled me to acknowledge that I am, actually …an artist. Mind you, when referring to my work I have always deferred to my self-deprecating humor and offered that I am just “making a mess in my studio”. But to hear someone actually don me with the admirable designation of Artist stirred my perception in a way that I had not expected.
He went on to ask me about my other creative pursuits and I spoke of my other love…writing. And I saw a pattern emerging. Just the same of my art, with my writing I had never claimed any esteem, or stamp, or accepted any real praise until I actually had my own published book in hand…even though I had written for years.
And then he dug further (apparently having done some research on yours truly), asking about my experiences doing stand-up comedy years ago (practically eons). And again, I down-played my work and success surrounding that craft, because I didn’t feel that I had deserved to call myself a comic. Even with the scars and stripes from wild, sometimes harsh, often drunk, and definitely diverse audiences in clubs in NY, Florida, TX and holes-in-the-wall in downtown Detroit… I’ve always just offered, “Well, I used to be kinda funny.”
“Comedy is defiance. It’s a snort of contempt in the face of fear and anxiety. And it’s the laughter that allows hope to creep back on the inhale.” ~ Will Durst, political satirist, radio host and writer
Again, though I had leapt into a yet another realm where one’s innermost feelings and thoughts and imagination are exposed and purposefully presented for the world to see, digest, judge, embrace and dismiss- I backed down from wearing a label that would have shone a light on my work and asked for attention to my triumphs. Hmmm.
Why the hell have I been letting a WORD intimidate me? After all, I’ve already jumped off the high dive multiple times, why was I trying not to make a splash?
It got me thinking about how I’ve perceived myself all these years, allowing myself to hide from or dodge each brilliant new monikers … even when they all indeed deserved to be laminated and hung on my neck for folks to see. As an entrepreneur, I’ve never sported a TITLE… it’s always just been about wearing umpteen hats, juggling tasks, herding cats and doing the work that makes your heart sing (hopefully). Labels never had a place in the mix. So, I suppose, I have brainwashed myself into thinking that identifiers aren’t perhaps that important, or that they must have a stockpile of goods, evidence and testimonials to support them.
“Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.” ~ H. Jackson Browne, Jr., author
That brief conversation with a man who barely knows me opened my eyes to a layer of self-imposed judgment that I’ve clearly allowed to dilute my own God-given gifts and fulfilled endeavors. And fifty bucks says, this speaks volumes to many folks- who either see it or live it as well. And so, perhaps it’s time to change. Time to not let intimidation of our own minds dictate how big our spirits can rise. Time to drop the bowlines and unbind our vision of the past, present and future as we colored it. Time to tell ourselves that we are worthy. ~ KD
Copyright by Kimberlie Dykeman
About Kimberlie Dykeman: Kimberlie Dykeman is an on-camera personality, marketing buzzsaw, producer, media coach… and entrepreneur for OPTIMISM. Oh, and a writer, artist and quite the comedienne!