Pain is important. I remember my mom trying to explain this to me. Pain lets us know that something is very wrong, and we need to take action to keep it from getting worse. Our natural reaction to pain is to seek out relief.
As I got older, I became aware of a different kind of pain. This pain was a result of realizing that where I was looked absolutely nothing like where I thought I should be. My friends were leaving for college, and I was working the fry machine at McDonald’s. Still, I remained optimistic over-all. Who was I to think that I would have my entire life mapped out by 19? Somewhere I hit a fork in the road, and never realized it. I was only moving further and further away from what I thought my life should be. Every action I took to close the gap only seemed to push me further away, and this pain became sharper.
I alternated between feeling sorry for myself and telling myself to just grow up and ignore the disappointment I felt. I have tried and failed so many times to find validation in different areas and each failure only pushed me down further. I have learned a lot in this revolving door of self-reproach. Number one, by trying to ignore the pain I have learned that I can work very hard. I have never worked a job I enjoyed or believed in, but I learned to just show up and do the work. Second, by finally allowing myself to feel the pain and frustration with myself, I had no choice but to seek out comfort. This has only recently become a productive process. All I’m looking for in my little projects is something to make me feel better.
Maybe my reasons will change someday, but right now, I make art because I need something to feel good about. I have one thing that I can point to in my life and say, “I did that, I made something that wasn’t there before, and I like it”.