Oh my, how I love that Stacy Kathryn decided to share this letter to her past self with us today. If you need a soft kick-in-the-pants that the long, winding journey you’re on will lead you to absolutely, positively having your dreams come true, then read on.
Love this print? You can download a printable .pdf here!
This is more of a personal story, though I feel it applies to anyone out there who is chasing a dream but feeling that it’s always just out of arm’s reach. It was seven years ago that I decided to pursue art as my career. I found myself with paintbrush in hand, discovering my love for creating all over again thanks to artists I found online sharing their passion and excelling at it. Those days were just like falling in love, I was in a haze of paint, amazing discoveries, and the feeling of walking on clouds. Which my head was obviously in, I couldn’t help but want that same dream as well and was giddy at the thought of it. My love of painting and creating has never gone away, but I definitely know I’m taking the long road with many detours on this path to actually being a full-time artist. It goes against much of what I’ve been taught by my overly cautious and practical parents. In his book, A Man Without A Country, Kurt Vonnegut wrote, “If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable…Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
I’d love to spend days in a quiet, sun-drenched studio in the picturesque, gentle hills of the countryside, standing thoughtfully before an easel holding my latest work, only venturing into the cacophony of the big city for my gallery openings. But the stark reality is, that’s not my life right now. There are bills that need to be paid, and my monthly take on Etsy isn’t even enough to fill up the gas tank in my car.
We live in a time when being creative and making a living doing so is very possible because creativity is in demand, more so than ever, but it doesn’t come easy. At least not for me it hasn’t. Giving up because it’s “too hard” or “taking too long” should never be a reason for abandoning your dreams, though. I’ve realized over the years that some compromise is in order. While it’s good to have focus, to have that mountaintop in sight, it also makes sense to step back and take in all the scenery. You could be missing opportunities, potential paths to success in doing what you love only because you weren’t looking at the bigger picture.
I’m finding my way, albeit slowly, to realizing this dream. Over the past seven years I’ve seen successes and I’ve fallen flat, changed course and found new paths. I’ve been learning more about myself, and growing as an artist. Even though at times it seems as if I’m no closer to this dream than I was when I started, if I look back at what I’ve accomplished, then there is no denying I’m on my way. I’ll admit at times that seeing other people succeed at similar paths bums me out. I’m grudgingly happy for them, but it tends to make me feel like I’m moving at a snail’s pace, a bright red Ferrari flying past me on the highway so quickly I feel as though I’m parked. Which I realize now is okay, it’s my dream to chase and do so at my own speed. Besides, should I be in a hurry to get to the finish line? But I won’t give up. It’s too important.
In a way, this is a letter to my past self, and maybe reading these words back then would have helped me through some of the tougher times, when I had to make decisions that directly impacted my Dream, and the pursuit of it. The thing is, this journey has been instrumental in allowing me to free up the paths that I know are leading me to truly fulfilling all my dreams! The long way has allowed me to get my head out of the clouds, clear my mind, and finally see a clearer picture of what a full-time artist looks like to me.
It doesn’t matter where you are on the journey to making your own dream come true. Take the detour, don’t worry about the pace, and trust that the steps you are taking are right for you. Whatever you do though, don’t ever give up on your dreams, even if they evolve, change, or look completely different when they come into focus.
Stacy Kathryn is an artist, and dreamer who loves to spend time creating mixed media paintings, illustrations and anything else she can dream up. Though her life has taken many twists and turns her passion for art has been a constant companion. She hopes to share her enthusiasm and inspire others to embrace change and creativity. website: www.stacykathryn.com
etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/stacykathryn