I was journaling and having a cup of coffee outside a cafe on this glorious day in Hoboken when a former client and fellow artist happened by. We began talking and I invited her to sit. And I am so happy that I did.
We had a frank discussion on death and depression and I revealed to her that occasionally I’ve avoided writing here because I’m afraid I’ll appear too dark to readers. I think about potential clients who might happen on this site and go skipping right on by, not digging the literal “negative Nancy” vibe.
Then she hesitated for a just a second before saying something like this:
“I don’t know if this is something I should say. But … I used to read your blog and it was always so positive and you were doing all these great things and loving life, but it wasn’t relatable. I remember thinking, I can’t relate to her life at all.”
In the moment, this struck me as phenomenal feedback. Kind of funny. Part relief. Part validation.
It’s not like the positive stuff was fake. Or is fake. Ever. That is my default and I wouldn’t want that to change. But she tapped into a beautiful truth.
Note to self: Upbeat 24/7 can feel disconcerting. It isn’t honest, not because you’re spouting lies but because you’re not coming clean on real life. You know, the unspoken, between-the-lines shit. Shoot a dagger every so often. Express something you later regret. Say “I don’t know” or “I’m out of control” and live with the perceptions, real and imagined. You’re edgy, remember? Independent. You’re an artist, for God’s sake. The stuff you read, the visual art you’re drawn to, it’s rarely in the happy cheerleader, one dimensional realm. It’s complex and, frankly, a little twisted. Things have been complicated lately. Keep saying that until the ebb gives way to flow.
Thank you, my dear messenger, for this. It provided a better jolt than the caffeine I was loading up on.
And, dare I say, I emerged feeling lighter.