Bigger than you.
I struggle to make peace with creating work that both functions within current financial power structures while actively criticizing and trying to reform them. It is a messy and tense process that’s difficult for me to get perspective on most of the time. So, when checking to make sure that I’m doing the work I’m meant to be doing, I often ping off of my past self. However imperfect the solution I’m offering, it needs to be something they would have benefited from.
It’s through this process that I’m reminded that the work I’m doing is so much bigger than me and my current money stress. It’s bigger than my doubts and the things I have yet to learn. When I think about the human I used to be, I feel only empathy for them. Emotionally volatile and scrappy, like everyone, they were doing the best that they could with what they had to become the creative they were longing to be.
My heart winces when I think back to how I used to operate in relationship to money. The way my scarcity lens had me convinced that taking money from anyone would put them out of house and home. Deeper than that, I felt undeserving of wealth. To choose the life of an artist was to swear away material attachments and aspirations. No one told me that it’s hard to be happy—no matter what work you’re doing—when you don’t have the money to keep yourself well.
The thing I am learning about the intersection of personal development and financial wellbeing is that while human change can happen quickly, financial shifts sometimes need more time to catch up. After years of working to embody a new way of being with money, it’s still going to take me many more to fix the financial repercussions of the choices my past way of being with money made. Which is, of course, frustrating and humbling.
At the same time, I can not wait to share what I have learned with others. Every week I talk to creatives on the edge of abandoning their work to seek more stable employment. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But when what they’re describing what sounds like a creative death sentence, I want so badly for them to see that there’s another way. There is reason to hope. In moments like those, I am reminded that my work is so much bigger than me.
The same goes for you. Whatever the work that you’re creating, know that there are folx who are hungry for what you have to share. Folx who are desperate to see themselves in your art; who are looking for permission to exist. So, in whatever ways you’re able, please persist. Keep making the art that matters to you. That matters to us. And for the love of all that is holy, do what you need to do to exorcise the starving artist narrative from your way of being, as a priority.
So, how can focusing on the bigger picture help you persist?