There are a lot of things I do from time to time, but this week seems to be the realization that I am a creative type. I know I’ve said it before, but I have to keep saying it. The definition keeps moving and changing; it evolves as I do. Creativity makes me outrageously submissive to my art and defiant about my vision. Question it all you like, but decisions are final. I cannot and will not create by committee.
I struggle with that balance of power daily. How do I merge both sides of my personality so that I can speak truth to power and at the same time, retain my humility? I am a political master of soft power, and then I trip. My ego stands in the way when I desperately do NOT need or even want it. Learning to create is learning to manage duality. My artist wants to be free, and my visionary wants to be regimented. It is yin and yang inside my own brain… which doesn’t surprise me in the least considering the three people that raised me live with the same duality every day. All three of them are musicians, amazing ones. My dad made All-State band three years running, and his senior year of high school, he was first band, first chair. That means that he was the best trumpet player in the entire state of Texas. He got 26 full-ride scholarships to the best schools in the nation. My mother is a pianist, taught at Kilgore College by the same teacher that molded Van Cliburn. She’s played for President Carter, but it means the most when she accompanies me. My Diane is an amazing opera singer, and you can take that check to the bank and cash it because Pavarotti himself told her that when she went to New York for a Met competition.
I’ve always felt left out in that crowd, because it’s a “rarified air” I strive to achieve and thus far have managed to fall ass over teakettle in just about everything until now. My writing allows me to feel equal to their brilliance. I’ve always known I was clever, but I didn’t have a medium until I knew for sure that my writing had healed someone else… and then it happened again…. and then it happened again….. Now, people all over the world know who I am. Beat that with a stick.
There’s my ego. You know how I combat it? I talk to addicts and homeless people all the time. I’m the one that stops on the street just to hear your story. While I am listening to you, the rest of the world will stop moving and I will only take in your words. Your stories matter to me because I am so grateful that my story means something to you. I have to take the chance that you will not hurt me, because you can, deeply. I overcome that fear of opening up daily. I stick close to home to reduce the odds of opening up to people and feeling rejected. In blogging, I found a way to hear people respond to my thoughts, and when my thoughts got power, I realized that I’d created the legacy I wanted, which was to reach the whole world at once.
Now, I can believe in myself the way I believe in others.
From time to time.