I waited for a long time for that great finger from the sky to come down, through the clouds, touch me on the forehead and label me an artist. I would then be allowed to use the term to describe myself because it had been officially deemed by a higher authority who knew about these things.
Of course, I realised that it was actually up to me. I was the one who had to decide on that descriptor and then, shoving down the fear, live up to it. It still took some time – business cards printed without ‘artist’, sticking with the no-longer-fully-accurate identity for safety and some sort of over-pedantic ‘honesty’.
But eventually I wanted to try it out. I filled in the blank on a form at the dentist first. Occupation: artist. The well-known imposter syndrome kicked in and I almost crossed it out. Only almost. For better or worse, a business in Unley, Adelaide, has me forever listed as a person of creativity.
After some time of writing the word, I tried it out verbally – qualified at first with phrases such as ‘just part time’, ‘only amateur’, ‘not really making a living’. Now, after a number of years, I can use the term and not feel quite so much like I’m aged five, clunking around in front of a mirror wearing mum’s best shoes and glamorous shawl.
But, underlying all this is the reality that the best way to be something is to do it. Labels are, after all, meaningless if there is no action behind them. Don’t waste time waiting for the great finger from the sky. Make it irrefutable by your practice.
8 thoughts on “That great finger from the sky”
Love this post.
Brene Brown says courage is making the choice to live with your whole heart. Maybe it takes a bit longer to admit that’s the choice you’ve made.
Interesting that others found it easy to use the word about you before you were able to use it about yourself.
Quite right. I guess identities need a while to shift or expand. I got there in the end!!
True Confession to a Kindred Spirit
of “The Rumour”
Love this “great finger from the sky”,
That points to the artist who is “I”.
Kirsten, you’re light years ahead of the art you already make,
Because you’re living it daily, with every give and take:
Hubris never stuck to your exterior,
Nor suited you because you are of a superior,
More introspective mold,
Which is different from brash,
Because it doesn’t involve rehash,
And has a brand of honesty so raw,
It connects to the human condition
And adds richness to its mission.
Years ago I was insulted to the core,
When I replied in written word, some more,
To a missive from my eldest, young adult daughter,
Who said “you could have been a writer, you really ought ‘a
Consider being a writer”:
She might ‘a
Just as well have stabbed a lance straight through my heart –
Because she missed the essence of my art –
That I was,
With no card, no money, not fame to claim, just because,
I dared to do,
To write to her, and others too.
Well, that became a figurative great finger from the heavens above,
Which churned and burned my sensitive love,
Taking it from intimate and potentially inviting,
To the open blaze of the sun on high,
Not a cloud in the blue sky,
To a place where apparently it might emerge from such a small dot,
That took only the space of the question “why not?”
I’m a dancer –
Hidden inside the rhythm and friction
Of varied diction,
Always deep inside I’ve known
Yet been rather tentative to let it be shown –
Rather dance alone in the rain,
Where the pain,
And effort of response to the reaction
Is washed swiftly and cooly away with no bothers:
Just the the sweet, wet mess,
Of having done it ness.
We had a dear friend you and I,
Who’s joined the great finger in the sky,
And if you recall,
She had lightness and vision with no eyes at all:
All this stuff,
And she’d leave the peel and the fluff,
And just work it all in the raw,
At the core,
And float it all out
Erasing all doubt.
Now you and I may struggle,
While, she, she’s in the huddle,
With the great finger in the sky,
Raining down encouragement drips and drops of dry,
That’s the rumour!
Thank you TB. Xxxx