If I was Voldemort, art would be my unicorn blood.
Okay, okay. Kinda gross and sort of dramatic. But it’s true!
Before you walk away gagging, let me explain:
Art is my life blood and keeps me sustained.
And while it doesn’t require a life long curse, it does require a lot of sacrifice. How often is that the case, though? The things we love, the things we are passionate, what makes everything ‘just feel right’ comes at a price.
Here I am, sitting the morning after a show I painted at, and I can barely keep my eyes open. I slept a full 7 hours, but this is one of those moments when I’m blatantly aware that I am no longer the college freshman who did homework until midnight, then sprung out of bed at 6am for work the next morning.
Lately, I’ve been VERY aware of my own limitations.
And let me tell you, it’s a feeling that’s pretty upsetting and kind of annoying. I hate being limited. I hate not being able to do every. single. thing. that pops into my head. I want to travel everywhere, live on Twitter, blog everyday, paint everything, work 80 hours a week and still have time to maintain healthy relationships and exercise 7 times a week.
Wouldn’t that be nice? If only I wasn’t human.
The reality is – I have limits. And I don’t think enough of us admit that. I’m not talking about being lazy, so don’t think leaning back in a pile of potato chips on the couch, while streaming soap operas, is what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about good ole-fashioned lack of ability to have more hours than life provides.
And while I know you gentlemen feel this way, as well – I’m going to call out the pressure that we, as women, feel to be EVERYTHING.
A lot of the time it feels like I need to be the perfect career woman, the perfect blogger, the perfect girlfriend, the perfect daughter the perfect roommate, the perfect friend, the perfect writer, the perfect editor. Oh, and also volunteer every weekend, be devastatingly fit, and have all my student loans paid off like 10 years ago.
(NOTE: I wasn’t even in college 10 years ago)
The point is, this is INSANE.
And I’m calling it.
There is no way to live up to this constant standard of perfection, and while I do very strongly agree that healthy life = happy life. Let’s reevaluate what that means.
Not to compare the U.S. to France, again, buuuuuuuuut…
In France women are not perfect mothers. They don’t have to be, and honestly I don’t think they want to be. Motherhood is just one piece (like being a vegetarian or a yogi) that makes up who they are.
In France there are days and days of vacation time when people literally sit around and “do nothing.” Or, to be specific, they lay around in gardens and on lawns and in front of amazing buildings that look like movie backgrounds.
In France you work so that you have more time to enjoy your life. Not so that you can pay back student loan gods who hold you in shackles for 40 years.
Obviously there are problems with any society, and France is not immune. But the overarching culture is sometimes storybook-esque.
Sometimes that drove me crazy, when I was living there. But now, I think I’m starting to get it.
I’m starting to understand that there’s no way to win in this American system.
Last weekend I got to hear some of the most successful people I can think of talk about their success, and guess what? They still don’t feel like they’ve “made it.”
Why? Because we’re holding ourselves to an impossible standard.
Okay, now the happy part:
One of my favorite quotes is by author Courtney E. Martin, who wrote a fantastic book called Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body.
“We are a generation of young women who were told we could do anything and instead heard that we had to be everything.”
Every time I read this quote, it’s like a slap in the face and a breath of fresh air.
This has been resonating with me a lot, lately, as I try to tackle 60 hour work weeks while maintaining a semi-normal life outside of my 3/4 jobs. It’s not easy. But I do my best, and I’ve decided that that is enough. I might not be producing my best ever art, or updating my social media/Etsy more than once a month but that’s okay. I’m still pressing forward.
Can I get an amen?
Okay, but really. I AM a huge advocate of hard work. But I also think it’s really important that we realize — we are not robots. We’re divinely created temples. And temples are places to be valued and loved.
So, today, wherever you are in life, that you’re reading this, just know that it’s okay not to have “it all together.”
I give you permission to be tired. To be a little messy. To be a little human. And to love your life, and yourself a little more.
Love extravagantly. Be kind to one another. And…