Everyone tells us to DREAM BIG, but no one asks us to ask why. Why do you want what you want? I did, finally. After five days last week when I was convinced I needed a baby. A fat cheeked, healthy, rolly polly cutely dressed, happy, giggling baby.
I watched youtube videos.
Babies laughing, babies in hysterics at someone ripping paper, babies on tables in South American countries dancing to Ricky Martin. No babies crying, no babies puking, no shattered mothers longing for five minutes of uninterrupted silence.
In my dream life, my babies are only happy and cute.
I have a lot of dreams. One was to have a dog. For two years I kept a photo on my wall of a large headed puppy I met walking around in philly. I knew my life would be better if it had a dog. It is. Everyday. I have never doubted it for a minute. If one dies I will rush out and get another one just like it. I will always have a dog. It is not a choice.
It is also not a choice to make art fulltime. Sometimes I need a break but soon I get itchy, and people around me beg me to go away and draw. I have to expell whatever is inside of me into color. I process everything that way. When I was stripping I wished I could somehow make art for a living, even though I wasn't very good at the time, so it was only a distant dream. I worked at it very hard for very long. Today I don't take my clothes off for money, and I get paid for art, so that dream has come to pass. But did my dream match my reality?
There wasn't internet then, so I could not envision blogs or youtube or uploading onto an intangible web. It didn't exist. And that is the thing about dreams, often what you are dreaming of is not going to be your reality. Our dreams are too perfect. But most of what I dreampt is the same. Art still thrills me every day I sit down to white paper. I never did it only to make money. I do it because I cannot, not, do it. Like an insatiable urge to kiss fur babies in the morning, I have to draw and color for most of the day. Then kiss more fur babies at night.
A dream, the conscious ones, the day-dreams, are usually not reality but wishes of an ideal situation. Life would be perfection if I had this thing. Yes, sometimes. I look down at finney and watch his little finney breath and I am complete for that moment. Having doggies match my dreams of having doggies.
But sometimes our dreams are not based in anything remotely considered reality.
I have a pinterest board as proof, (here).
Pinterest is porn for dreamers. My board, called Someday, has pictures of children I envision myself adopting. In the pictures the babies are propped up on brightly colored, clean, Sweedish patchwork pillows from Ikea, they have on cute hats, and are hugging a very cool dreadlocked mom. These pictures are not very different then the pictures I take of me and my dogs. Sans cool dreadlocks.
When you have a longing you need to satisfy, first ask yourself why. I read the book HOW TO SURVIVE by Augusten Burroughs, all in one day, and he asks you to ask this question. What is it about this thing that will make your life so great? Then check reality. I enjoy quiet. Period. Children are not quiet and if they are made to be it is not fair to them. I shake at any noise, it is just how my damaged psyche reacts to things now. I hear a loud bang and I drop plates. People talking, even a tv for two long, and I start twitching. Stretches of time with warm sunlight and silence is my goal in life. This is not baby friendly atmosphere.
Whenever I get the craving for fat baby cheeks, I will seek them out, but I don't have to rethink my life because this longing will pass. I could do it. I am responsible. I take extremely great care of my doggies. I would give up my life for a child if I had to. But I don't. So that is that. I get all the quiet and time to read and make art that I want and I wont feel bad about it. I won't think your life is better than mine because you get things I don't. I get things you don't, so we're equal.
If you can imagine a life without your dream, then it is not your passion.
Just because you can dream, doesn't mean you should make it come true. There are many things we can put our energy into and easily become distracted. In the past I have taken on too many other people projects, wanting to please and be friends with everyone, and I neglected my dreams for theirs. You might have done this too.
If you want your Live Your True Passion, you must first know what it is, then say no to everything that is not. If you don't know what your Passion is, go look on your pinterest board. (I know you have one.) Write down your boards and pins and what you like. Imagine yourself living these lives. Write about them. Be wretchingly honest in your imaginings. Are your babies (insert your thing in instead of babies) all cute and laughing? Do you think if you were a full time artist you would suddenly be famous and make tons of cash? Do you think Ryan Gosling is really going to show up at your door and help you organize your scrapbook paper? Do you even really want him to? (I would be turned off by a cute guy who would rather color coordinate paper then do almost anything else.)
Which one of your day dreams is something that you cannot live without? This is a clue to what you should put your energy into making come true. If your heart stops a little and it scares you, then you are on the right track.
The above drawing is from my ongoing art journal group Paint & Chronicle.