This is by me. I am an artist. Just FYI.
In a meeting yesterday, someone asked me what I do. I always stutter a bit with the answer because I don’t have a one-sentence response like: “I’m a nurse at Abbott Northwestern” or “I’m in marketing at the House of Pancakes.”
So, I started in on my smorgasbord of responsibilities. “Well, I’m a blogger – focused on finding the magic and miracles in each day. And I co-host a radio show. And I’m a speaker. And a mom. And I do some freelance copy writing.” They asked some questions, visibly perplexed by my mishmash of a life, and we went on with our meeting.
Later on, as I was driving away, I recounted the meeting in my head – what I said, what they said, what I think they thought about what I think (we all do this, right? please tell me we all do this.). Suddenly, I gasped with this realization: I didn’t tell them I’m an artist. How did I conveniently forget to tell them I’m artist? I spend a large chunk of time on my art – making it, selling it, shipping it. But…not mentioning it.
When I got back to my laptop, there was a sweet email waiting for me from super-talented photographer Jennifer Liv Olson. Yep – her middle name is my first name and we both pronounce it leev (the right way – ahem). We’ve exchanged a couple of emails and tweets and she reads my blog. Here’s part of her adorable stream-of-consciousness email:
“i’m digging through etsy and i find you here and i had no idea you were on here and that you made such lovely beautiful wonderful things. just writing to say i think i love you. in a totally not creepy – just in an admire-ish sort of way. your art is beautiful and lovely and amazing. thank you for just being you.”
How sweet is that!? She made my day! But she also magnified a little problem I seem to be having: owning and sharing that I. AM. AN. ARTIST. Last summer, before opening my Etsy shop, I announced here that I was claiming the title and shedding old fears about describing myself as an artist. But I have a feeling those fears are still living somewhere beneath the surface – causing artist amnesia in meetings, keeping me from regularly sharing it here and elsewhere, resulting in a studio that looks like a hurricane hit it.
I believe there are no coincidences. I think yesterday’s meeting and Jennifer’s email came one right after the other for a reason: a cosmic nudge to notice the pattern and start a new habit: letting the world know that this – my art – is part of what I do and a big part of who I am.