I recently wrote about my struggle with censorship. I don’t know why I feel this intense need to bare my soul with words, but I do. I think I’m beginning to understand that this need comes from a part of me that I don’t fully know yet: the artist.

I don’t consider myself all that talented at many things. I can make some pretty and tasty baked goods – but they’re far from perfect and I’ve definitely had better.

I used to play the piano. Quite well, in fact. But the lack of practice over the years has taken its toll.

But I have always loved and appreciated art in all its forms: music, theatre, film, graphics, photography, paintings, sculpture, architecture. And it only recently dawned on me that writing, more specifically my writing, is art. 

I have to stop here and give kudos to one of my friends. I don’t have fellow artists in my friends circle really. Not that relate to this part of me. Not until fairly recently, that is. But when I met LaRue, I just knew we were going to be friends. And little did I know just how much I was going to need her friendship. She sees things through an artist’s eyes and gives me a perspective that I literally get nowhere else. 

When I first wrote about feeling limited in this blog, the next morning LaRue was texting me with suggestions. Some I’d thought about, some I had not. But it’s not always what she says to me as much as it is her perspective that really grabs my attention. 

It’s almost like she’s my creative conscience. 

I consider myself a bit of a contradiction. I crave control and order and predictability, and yet simultaneously abhor all of those things . 

I’m learning a lot about myself these days and in that self-discovery I have found this inner conflict. I know I’m “supposed” to do things a certain way. A, then B, then C. And then I also have this intense need for freedom from those kinds of restrictions in particular areas of my life.

One of the first steps to freedom in my writing was just giving myself permission to do it. Making a personal blog public is a little bit scary. I want people to read what I write. But I have shared some deeply personal things here. And at the same time I can honestly say I’ve never regretted a single post. I write from where I’m at, emotionally, spiritually, mentally. I won’t apologize for that. 

The 2nd step was recognizing that good writing doesn’t always translate into successful writing. One of my most recent posts? I edited it about a dozen times. I was immensely satisfied with it. More than I usually am. It got minimal views. I’ve turned in some great writing and had to let it be it’s own reward. And that thought leads to the point I’ve been trying to make since I sat down tonight and that is this:

I only just recognized myself as an artist.

It took me years to call myself a writer, and seeing this thing I do as an art has also taken quite some time.

But writing is an art. I don’t write like anyone else I know. My work is as different as one painter’s canvas is from another. And recognizing myself as an artist is kind of new territory.

But it’s also incredibly liberating. For one thing, the restraints I feel, only exist in my mind. And they can be broken. I recently started a project which is unlike this blog where I am very censored and edited. To write freely, uninhibited by anything whatsoever…..it feels amazing. And scary. The insecurities abound. Until I remember that there is no right or wrong when it comes to art. That’s what makes it personal. The personal touch from the artist is what gives it life, uniqueness, a soul.

I think going to therapy has really benefitted me in this part of my life. It has allowed me to look deeper, think more clearly, understand where some of my neuroses originated. This recognition of writing as art and claiming the title of “artist” has given me a new perspective on the whole idea of me being a writer.

As we get ready to welcome a new year, I am really looking forward to delving more deeply into my medium. Yes, I want to grow my business. I definitely would like to continue some cash flow from it. But, at the end of the day, I started writing because I love it. This is my passion. This is what I love to do. 

I come back, time and time again, to some of LaRue’s words about art, that there is joy in just creating something. Anything. Just putting a piece of yourself into something and letting it be. 

I think, somewhere under my tentative and second-guessing exterior, there has been an artist begging to be released, maybe for my whole life. 

So, I just took off her shackles. 

Her cell is unlocked. 

And I can’t wait to see what she does.