I had this poster on my wall as a kid that said, “Follow your dreams in whatever you do, it won’t be too long till they start coming true!” It had cute, chubby little cartoon animals walking up a path between rolling hills in a perfect landscape. I kinda wish I still had it. A google search turned up nothing but today’s typical cheugy inspirational signs in various fonts. Live, Love, Laugh, follow your dreams.
My dad once told me, “Do what you love, the money will follow.” In almost the same breath he warned, “Don’t make your creative work a job, or you’ll start to hate it.” Navigating the creative flow is hard enough, add some dollar signs (or hypothetical dollar signs), and suddenly inspiration is suckethed into the atmosphere, never to show its face again.
Sometimes I boldly ask the universe to “please, let me make money doing this!”, or “please, send me a winning lottery ticket!”, but there’s still work involved. Like, it’d probably help if I actually bought lottery tickets. Same goes for making art. I need strategy, and routine. I need to try harder and fail better. Practice makes progress.
Sometimes the hardest part is coming up with your dream. What do I even want to be when I grow up? If I could have any life, what would I choose? I take a big sigh of relief when I look at what I have. I am fully aware that a lot of this is an absolute privilege. When my parents were growing up in Port Alberni, the town was booming. Fancy cars, good jobs, music and money to be had. They bought a home, they had kids, they had fun. At the same time, there were residential schools and the 60’s scoop. There was a horror show happening right beside them, in their very own community. If you don’t know what I am talking about, please take the time to learn what happened here. It’s important to hear the truth from the first nations people themselves.
I feel it needs to be said, it's a privilege that I have a house and a beautiful family, that is healthy, and happy. I love my husband, my neighbourhood, my job, and my friends. I have enough. I have some debt, but it could be worse. I get depressed sometimes and go to bed at 8, but again, it could be worse. I struggle sometimes, but I am going to be alright.
I am grateful I have, and love art. And nature. Little things make me excited. The pattern in the center of a daisy. Seeing the berries and the cedar waxwings return in early summer. I love a spotless kitchen, my husband's annual cleaning of the outside of the toilet ;) I also want world peace. I want Bezos to grow a heart and end world hunger. I want a revolution. I want equality, and I want to see the end of white supremacy. Also, I want to be seen. I want to belong. I want my art to make people cry, in a good way. I want to make a difference and move people. I want to be like the daisy, and put a smile on people’s faces. I want leisure time. I want to shop local, buy my friends’ art, and eat amazing food. External validation. Likes. Positive comments, 5 star Google reviews... Fame? Fortune? Do I? I just got carried away there, whoa. What will be enough? What will satisfy my human drive to succeed, to belong, to make the world a better place?
I think we can start small, start in our community, start by making art, music, contributing in little ways that defy the mechanism that causes us to drone on as a bolt or cog in the capitalist wheel. I am not sure we can escape the system, but at least we can feed our souls with little things we love, and radiate that outward… I dare you to take a small step towards your own happiness. This will help you in the long run. This may even help others around you.
What will I write down as my next dream? What is your dream?
When I returned home from living in Montreal in 2009, I wrote in my journal all the dreams I wanted to realize in the future. Recently I looked back on this entry, and sure as shiz, everything was accomplished!
When my Granny T passed away, I used to talk to her like she was there. I’d ask her for help. I would tell her my deepest wishes. Again, my requests were answered!
I decided I wanted to go back to school last year and started looking into college programs for graphic design. I dropped it when I realized I couldn’t afford the computer upgrade, the time, or the tuition. BAM. 2 months later I received an email from NIC for an opportunity for admission into a fully funded Digital Elevated Expertise Program with a free laptop. The weekly class happened on a day I wasn’t working and was completely online. I nearly fell over. I couldn’t even recall signing up to be on the NIC mailing list. It was so random, and so absolutely perfect. I created my current logo, business, built this website, and have been inspired to pursue more learning!
From my experience, over and over, if you want to make a change or accomplish something, the first step is saying it out loud, writing it down, praying, asking the universe, or actualizing it in some sort of way. Let yourself dream!
And of course, a little bit of work might need to be done. Sometimes a lot of work needs to be done, but just a little at a time.
What is holding you back? Are you afraid you’ll be laughed at? Did someone say, you can’t? Is it your own inner critic stopping you? Sometimes spelling it out makes the voice sound ridiculous and deflates the fear. I have made it a practice now, to write my grievances with the world on scraps of paper. Then, I make a fire and burn them. I let the pain and fear go. It seems simple, corny even, but it is so cathartic. Life changing. I keep doing it from time to time. Sometimes I save the ashes to use as paint.
So here’s my proposition: Tell me your dreams, your wishes, your aspirations, your best future life! Write it down and pass it to me. I will collect our community of dreams and blend them up into handmade paper. Now tell me your discards, the fears you want to let go of, the shame, regrets or voices holding you back, or just write it incognito and pass it to me for the burn pile. Together, all our discards will be cast away in smoke, leaving the ashes for carbon black ink. Finally, I will put the ink to paper, making possibility into art through collaboration.
Maybe by the August full moon, I can start the next phase of this project, and you can start on the next phase in your life. I can’t wait to see what we can do!
I will be at the Moss Street Paint-In this Saturday, July 16th 2022 with my project. Feel free to contact me if you want to add your dreams and discards. I am listening and rooting for you...