It is a risk, but learning how to trust ourselves is paramount to the creative process.
“But here’s the thing: I have no interest in making reels and pointing to words
typed on a screen, in learning animation solely for the purpose of creating movement
in my art so that I will get more views. I have no interest in being an entertainer. I abhor
recording or watching myself talk on video. For the most part, I won’t be making videos
of myself making art. It’s too laborious to do regularly and disrupts my process. I understand
that “times change” and that appetites for consuming content change. People get bored and
want more or want different. That said, I am not here to post content that feels inauthentic
just because it garners more views. I am 53 years old and by now I know what lights me up.
I believe in following THAT. And I also believe if I follow THAT the rest will follow. I’m not
leaving this space, but I’m also growing/scheming how I can continue to connect with you
all (my community) in ways that feel pure and non-performative.”~ Lisa Congdon’s post on Instagram
Artist, author, and entrepreneur Lisa Congdon doesn’t want to point to words in Instagram reels. Nor does she want to try to figure out how to animate her work or record videos of her making art to seduce greater social media engagement. She doesn’t care about algorithms or being an entertainer.
What she does care about is knowing who she truly is and living an authentic life as fully and richly as possible. She follows what makes her happy, not the latest demands from performative culture mandates.
After Lisa posted the above comments on Instagram, guess what happened? Was she shelved as irrelevant because she refused to take the bit in her mouth, suck it up, and make content that the “experts” advise making in order to expand her reach?
No. Her post went viral, and she attracted scores of new followers.
A Life of Obligation or Uniqueness?
We all routinely forget that the inauthentic things we feel obligated to do and/or be are not only slowly and surely killing us and our joy, they are stealthy, smart bombs hidden in plain sight. Day by day, their weight and eroding power accumulates, ultimately exploding and splintering our opportunities for success.
There is nothing sexier than someone who is living in accordance with their true self.
Our ideal markets respond to the energy of us when we are seated firmly inside the skins of our core nature. Think of the times you have been shattered into a million pieces by something someone said, wrote, created, and/or lived that so beautifully captured a zinging, piercing truth you have longed to express or experience with clarity and confidence.
We sense it coming before we even see or hear it. We are on alert…our souls tip us off to sit up, pay attention, because here comes some straight-line power from the center of someone who is living in alignment and has zero concern for the opinions of others.
Isn’t it interesting that no matter how many times we have experienced the allure and power of another’s assured and authentic living, we will still slowly back up into the shrubbery and cloak what comprises that for us? We’ll hide our truth not only from others, but painfully and deftly, from ourselves.
How to Trust Ourselves
Why is it that we don’t trust our own voices and hands and desires?
I believe it is rooted in our obsession with not being judged harshly and our fear of losing favor, acceptance, and love. We’d rather die on the vine amongst the colorless masses, withering in a desert of our own making, than risk our tender hearts by stepping into a supple, vibrant, and fully expressed life.
In a life of visible vulnerability, we attract attention and commentary. Commentary that can be brutal, mean, and pitted with jealousy.
As I work to shed these desires to hide in my own life and work, I begin the day by asking myself one question: what choice do I have? That is, on this one trip, this one adventure of one life, who else am I supposed to be? I can only be myself, for better or worse.
Our time here is not to be spent making sure everyone else is comfortable with who we are. Our choices. Our decisions.
There is such freedom and fresh air when we leverage the bonafide bones of us with ease and determination. When we embrace what transports us to a lightness of being. When we live without apology or any striving to feather out our rough edges to be more pleasing to the world.
When we remember what it is we love and dare to do so in broad daylight, uncompromising on our nonnegotiables for a passion-filled, ecstatic experience of this one life.