I had a moment of clarity two days ago, not only that I needed to write, but what I would write. I have learned to trust that voice in myself that knows when something is right even when it is hard to explain or to justify. So, I did it. I am not unhappy that I did.
I thought in writing it that it would free me, but I forgot the idiom about the truth :
"The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off."
I'm sure it is part of the process, but things seem more painful and more unclear today than they did when I was writing, or in the moment of clarity after having done so. It is to be expected. My only way of dealing with the whole thing was first to just get through it and then once it was over to avoid thinking about it. Writing about it opened the original wound that was never properly healed. The unresolved questions it posed remain unanswered.
Many people have written in response to what I said, some in private, some on the blog. I am touched and humbled by what they had to say. Yet, I realized from their comments that they thought I was sad. I do not know if sad is the right description. Grieving perhaps, because I lost something, don't know how to get it back, don't want to and more importantly don't know what to replace it with. The emptiness left behind, the nothingness, is not bad. It can be like meditation, being present to the present, just being, which is always uncomfortable, but has its value. The problem is just being resembles denial. It is not clear which one it is, and they seem to be able to occur in the same moment, the same act.
I did want to make it clear that I don't feel like there is some kind of entitlement/reward in doing my work. I am not owed anything because I'm an artist. My feeling of frustration comes from the out-of-balance reaction to my work. People's words and reactions are overwhelming, beautiful and touching. Yet, at the end of an exhibit I go home, no concrete material gain, metaphorically with nothing in my pocket. Peoples words are great, but I can't pay the rent with them, or buy myself a few days to work on my art. I have to go back to my day job and wait for the next gig to come along, which is the only time that allows me a few days or weeks to do another sculpture, free from other obligations. I feel lucky to have such opportunities. I simply don't understand the black and white difference between people's reaction and my ability to make at least some money on it, even if I can't make a living at it.
It's not about money. Money is money. Money doesn't buy happiness. But money is a symbol of value.