An artist’s statement in reverse… a (relatively) public call for entries.
It’s been six years since I graduated from high school, and I’ve been particularly introspective today. Bear with me… I’ll get to my point eventually.
I haven’t made any serious art in a long time. I’ve done a lot of maturing. I put my own mental health on the back burner, forgot how to take care of myself. Sought out love in the wrong places. Built myself up in superficial ways while my insides festered. Now that I’m closer to where I want to be, I’ve picked up the pencils to draw pretty pictures and it just feels hollow. I can’t make more pretty art – not without something behind it. I have no interest in that anymore. Sure, I’ll continue to take pictures of my dog and my Starbucks drinks and the flowers outside my house, but to put hours into something that is shiny and only shiny? Forget it.
Your twenties are… an interesting time. I see many of you taking on the sort of adult responsibilities that make me dizzy just considering them for a passing minute. (Instead, I just throw an admiring “like” your way and scroll onward.) We’re all doing different things. It’s after high school that you really begin exploring your own values. Everything before that was practice mode. When you look back, you might cringe at your choice in eyeshadow… or the number of times you should have kept your opinion to yourself.
Here’s where these two things come together: I want your advice. A sentence, a paragraph, an essay, a couple lines… Nicely written or more rough… I’l take what you’ll give me. (But the purer, the less refined, the better.) But it’s a cliche sort of advice: What would you tell your younger self? How would you make it easier on yourself in junior high, in college, a year ago, twenty years ago, a month ago? In theory, you would still be the same worldly person you are today, still possess the same knowledge, but the path might have been less bumpy. It’s not simply regret if you gained something from it, right? That’s how I try to look at my mistakes. (I mean, theoretically. I don’t have the words “float on” tattooed on my wrist for nothing. I need the reminder.) To illustrate how you could be as shallow or heavy as you desire, here are a couple examples of my own imaginary advice.
In the kiddie pool region: “Don’t ever touch your eyebrows. Just don’t.”
Toward the deep end, where I have to start holding onto the wall: “Don’t quit something just because you aren’t naturally good at it. Only pursuing the things that come easily spoils you and will make doing the difficult things that much harder.”
I will make something from these words. That part is still in its initial stages of brainstorming, but a call for your stories means I can’t back out of it – I have to follow through with this idea!
(And it’s anonymous, duh.)