I used to fantasize about a gatekeeper or someone with power and influence, would see my painting and insist that I be an artist! I would be discovered!
In fact, I did have a profesor tell me to major in art--as did a college friend. Unfortunately, I did not listen to them.
I couldn’t give myself permission to be an artist until I had no other choice. When I was in an emotionally challenging place, I realized that I needed art to be built into the structure of my life. I had to seriously acknowledge that creative part of me, or else I’d risk major suffering and depression.
Still, even after becoming confident in calling myself an artist, it took even longer to to commit to it as a profession. (There were many detours.) It sometimes seems easier to reject a part of ourselves than do the work that it takes to say yes to it. But, that rejected part of yourself will keep returning no matter how many times you close the door.
Fifteen years after giving myself an initial permission slip to be an artist, I am still giving myself permission---to build a studio, to start a business, to start a slightly different business, to ask for more, to try something new, to push myself further and further. I am still having to pull out the permission slips again and again.
The only magic person who will grant you permission to be yourself is yourself! How could anyone else, but you, know you well enough to know exactly what you’d be dreaming of doing?
Even after you say yes, the first time, you have to give yourself permission a million times more. You have to develop a practice of permission giving. You have to be a master in giving yourself permission, because nobody else will
. . .because nobody else can.
What permission slip have you been longing to write yourself?
It's always the right season to sign-up for Woolgathering!
Anna Lentz, artist and writer, blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.