A few months back, my son came home, and I had him to myself for seven glorious hours.
I reserved time at Radio Social, a cool local club where we bowled and played Jenga with oversized rectangular blocks. I took him to get a haircut and non-essential provisions at Target. Over flautas and a brisket burrito, we smiled and laughed – and I was just so thankful to be alive.
“I’m proud of you,” my son said. “You never give up.”
After he left, I thought about his words. When I was bedridden and suffering from the prolonged symptoms of post acute withdrawal syndrome, I wanted to quit. I didn’t think I would ever heal.
Four and a half years later, I am so glad that I held on.
It stuns me how the trajectory of my life completely changed when I got sick. When I was cognitively scrambled ~ unable to read or write or do very much at all ~ I had to dig deep and find something to pass the hours.
I continue to be amazed that people are buying my art, that the things I do and say influence others ~ and most importantly, that I have people in my life that I care about and who care about me.
There’s still so much I want to accomplish.
Now that I am mostly healed from my iatrogenic injury, I’m aware that time is short and I want to make a difference.
I’ve always been ambitious.
When I was a wee thing, I painted rocks, put them in a bag, and set out to show them to my neighbors. One woman was particularly kind. Mrs. Silverman turned over each painted rock in her hands and insisted in paying me a quarter for one of my creations. I remember being shocked about being offered money ~ and also feeling proud. Feeling confident, I wandered up and down the street, trying to sell my wares. My efforts were partially motivated by a desire for financial independence ~ my parents wouldn’t buy me that Tiffany Taylor doll, and I had to figure out how to get her somehow. But more than the doll, I had a profound need for people to see what I’d done.
I wanted the recognition.
I needed it.
These days, little has changed.
As one of my former students said in one of his recent blog posts: “I just want to make stuff and I want people to see it.”
Thank you for putting it out there, Kurt Indovina.
I’m internally motivated, yes.
But I also like a little validation.
That’s a lie.
I like to receive a lot of validation.
Creating art in isolation gets lonely, which is why I’m so appreciative when people leave a comment or hit LIKE, or interact with me when I am LIVE on Facebook.
So I’m owning it unapologetically.
I’m a creative.
An artist and a writer. A teacher & an activist.
And a wanna-be superstar.
I want my family to be proud of me.
And I want to be remembered as a prolific artist who made the world a little more beautiful, one painting at a time.
What do you want to be remembered for?