I have no idea who that quote is attributed to or where I found it, it has been living on my work studio wall for years.
The true cost of anything is what we must give up to have it.
At one time it served to reinforce some rigid ideas I have long held about what an “artist” is, ideas that I am unable to live up to such as being free and unconcerned with financial security. Only half of me was built that way the other half finds the idea of being without a weekly paycheck panic inducing.
I have spent long hours trapped in a struggle between those two sides, wanting to be free and wanting to be secure. There is nothing really wrong with either of them. They both serve me. The problem is when I start to think that they are mutually exclusive, without the freedom/creative part I die a little inside, without the security here comes the panic attack. I start to go round and around like a rat chasing its tail.
I finally sought help with this last year and found someone wonderful to help me break out of this circular thinking trap.
It is getting better. I’m not there yet but lets face it there is no THERE.
But back to the quote, it has been the theme of all of my clearing and sorting this summer. The cost for me hasn’t been about money so much as space, both physical and psychic. I only get so much space and so many hours to work with, if its all filled up I get to feeling trapped. As I’ve sorted I’ve found that many of the things I’ve been holding onto were physical manifestations of my “shoulds” and “good ideas” and “ought tos”. In order to clear the space I had to release plans, ideas and dreams that don’t fit anymore or that I just don’t want to do (but feel like I should). The cost of keeping it is too high for me to pay.
There has been some mourning, some struggles have ensued as well (which is why it has taken so long), and I don’t think I got it done perfectly. I probably kept more than I should have. I think it’s an ongoing process I will revisit from time to time. I’m trying to do this gently and to find a balance between the two impulses that I can live with. The biggest thing I am sorting out is what my definition of a creative life is.