The greatest gift you can give this holiday season is something you give to yourself, and to others — and that is the gift of self-expression.
That is what we do in the arts.
I don’t care if you work a 9-to-5 job and you write your novel at night. I don’t care if you are in your 70s when you take your first improv class. (Some of my best students have come
to improv late in life). I don’t care if you make a dime at it or not.
The greatest gift you can give to yourself, me, and anyone else is to express yourself on a regular basis.
The hardest part is thinking we deserve it. Since we have such a good imaginations, we can come up with really great excuses for why we aren’t expressing ourselves.
“I don’t have the time.”
“It’s selfish of me.”
Or my favorite: “It’s a luxury.” No, giving yourself the time and space to express yourself is not a luxury. For artists, it’s a necessity, like brushing your teeth.
Self-care has become a big buzz word today. Everyone talks about it. But self-care is about more than going for a walk in nature, taking a bubble bath or getting a message. It’s about carving out the time to express yourself.
Maybe you’ve been thinking about taking that acting class, or doing an open mic night, or playing the piano more. You may have to try several different art forms before you land on the one that works for you. You don’t have to know exactly which type of art is going to fit you best until you try it.
You don’t have to change the world with your art. Not only is that grandiose, it’s one the biggest excuses people use so they don’t even begin. All we need is for you to take time to express yourself, in whatever way works for you.
I try to crank one of these blogs out each week, and today, I do it for me, which is much different than when I first started. I do it because it’s important for me to put a piece of myself out there, to try to tell my truth at this particular moment, with the understanding that my truth can change and often as I do.
When I finish a blog and hit publish and send it out to the world, sometimes people will heap praise on me that I have hard time taking in, and sometimes I get criticism that I have no problem taking in. Not everyone is going to like you, and not everyone is going to agree with you. Yes, full disclosure, that is the risk.
But there is a greater risk in not expressing yourself. Keeping your nose to the grindstone and bottling up your thoughts and feelings does damage to your soul.
With 2020 almost over, I would like to see 2021 be the year that you are more generous to yourself, and I can’t think of a better way to do that than taking the time to express your art in whatever form speaks to you, because you deserve it.