In the first few months that The Art Journaler Community was in existence, Teresa invited us to call ourselves artists. It sounded more than a little crazy to me, but I wanted to believe it. So I did it. I called myself an artist. Teresa is a very convincing sort of person.
One of my favorite books in the world is A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle. A major theme of this middle volume of her trilogy is “naming”. The way to escape the evil darkness is to be named. It matters not how big or how small you may be. It is the naming that makes the difference.
One tiny being who is named can change the universe.
Yes, this book is a work of fiction. However, I believe it is no small thing to be named. For me, the process of naming myself “artist” has worked from the inside of my soul and gradually transformed my outer shell.
About 18 months ago, my husband and I went to a 35th birthday party for a good friend. There were many people there whom we had never met. They were chatting about “how do you know the birthday girl?”… A man turned to us and plainly asked, “Are you artists?” In no time at all, my discomfort at being the oddball turned to elation at being seen and correctly named. It was the first time.
It has happened to me a few times since then. Once, a coworker down the hall stopped me and asked if I made art outside of work. In Hobby Lobby, a confused patron asked me what kind of paint he should get, because I “looked like I would know.”
Today — many months after naming myself “artist” at Teresa’s invitation — I have started carrying my Right Brain Planner around work. Last week I asked my graduate assistant if it made her uncomfortable because it was different. She declared the opposite. That it made her jealous that it was so fun; it made her want to go home and make her own.
Naming myself an artist first started as an inner declaration. It crept outward to become an clear distinction to others. Recently it has reached even farther and encouraged others along the same path. There is great power in naming oneself. Even when the fruit is not seen immediately.
Will you call yourself an artist today?
If for no other reason than you want to believe the statement to be true? You have been drawn to this community for a reason. You belong. You can claim the name, however bizarre it sounds in your head today.
You are an artist. We believe in you.
- Anna & The Art Journaler Community
Anna Meade is an idealist turned cynic turned hopeful. She is learning to thrive amid the perpetual in-betweens. A seasoned listener and observer, she found her voice through art journaling and painting. Her life dreams are to break boundaries, build bridges and roam free. She tells stories at annameadearts.wordpress.com