Monday, February 13, 2012

Ride Your Own Unicorn Bicycles: It's Okay to Be An Artist -->

So, I kind of am in love with this photograph.

And I was thinking about it and really, this is kind of how I feel being a poet--as if I'm riding my unicorn bike around town.

I'm thankful I live in an artsy-community where it's not unusual to see women in long-patterned skirts, birkenstocks, crazy scarves and funky hats or for someone to ask, "Are you going to the psychic fair or the Renaissance Faire?"  

So many times when I ride up on my unicorn bike, no one even notices, or they tell me they have a unicorn bike too, but they don't show it to anyone.

The older I get, I realize you can't be liked/understood/accepted by everyone and that's okay.

As a young girl, I didn't get this.  When someone didn't like me, I wasn't sure why.  When I told my family that someone didn't like me, they would ask, "What did you do to them?"  I grew up believing if someone didn't like you, it was because you *did* something.  I hadn't realized that sometimes just showing up or being yourself was enough to be disliked.  

Being an artist (aka writer, painter, poet, etc) is difficult on its own.

Being an artist in a culture that values money can be difficult.  You can be riding around on your unicorn bike and someone says, "Shouldn't you have a real job?" or "Why are you wasting your time on that thing?"

Some people look at your unicorn bike and say "Weirdo" or "Stop it! You're showing off!"

Or if you get "too successful" someone who was riding a unicorn bike with you disappears into a ditch, throws rocks at you, or doesn't like that your unicorn now wears a tiara.

Or if there's insecurity, someone decides your unicorn bike is looking at them wrong, giving them the stinkeye, when really, your unicorn is just tired or in its own little world.

So many reasons to dislike someone...and yet, aren't we all just trying to get by the best we can?

Sometimes I need to reminded that it's okay to take a different route.

Even after fifteen years of following my own path, I have to check-in with myself and say, "It's okay you don't want to do what the masses are doing."

It's okay you don't like shopping or baking or scrapbooking or big parties or small talk or socializing or gossiping or watching American Idol or jogging or cheesecake.  It's okay you want to live on a houseboat and not in a neighborhood.  It's okay you prefer reading to athletics, documentaries to dramas.

I think as artists we need to remind ourselves that we're okay.

Even when we drive through Thanksgiving dinner on our unicorn bikes and our family says, "He has always wanted the dramatic entrance" or "Her and that silly hobby of hers" or "____________________________" (fill in the blank, you know you've heard something before)--

always know there are a lot with you who are also trying our hardest to live our dreams, to live the best life we can without trying to run anyone over.

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