What feels like ages ago, I shared this image of me working with baby-in-arms on Instagram, taken by my oldest. At the time, my youngest was only 18 months old, and my oldest was 7. Looking at this image now illuminates this truth for me: I struggled with the same ugly lies about being an artist and mother then as I struggle with today. They are:
- I can't be a successful artist and a successful mother. (Variant: My children will resent me.)
- If I don't make enough money, I'm just a leech on society. (Variant: The work I do isn't valuable.)
- If people don't buy my work, I should just stop making art. (Variant: I'll starve if people don't buy my work.)
You think these voices will stop. You think that someday you'll arrive and it'll be clear that you're really and truly an artist, but that's not the case.
And it's an especially strange feeling for me, since I've been noodling with art ever since childhood. Because I've done it for so long and I have powerful childhood memories, it becomes associated with childishness and something to be left behind.
But it's not. I can't leave it behind. I can't give it up, even if I try.