The Vulnerable Artist


I feel I have to be vulnerable as an artist. I cannot always agree with the me of before. This 'before' is an arbitrary point that changes depending on my mood and the 'me' that is up for discussion. Within the brackets of my own mental health, the 'me before' is pre-admissions 2013. The 'me before' as an artist is difficult to pin-point, was it before or after college? Before or after university? I do believe that there is a 'me before' when discussing being an artist, and I think it's important that she exists.

To enter into the discussion with previous iterations of artist me is to admit that I have changed and I have learnt. It is from this point that I become vulnerable as an artist. I have explored myself within the realms of 'art' and its extended family. The lessons I have had in this faux-comfort-zone are important to how I create and what I create. It allows those things that I create to be elevated to new levels.

This being able to say "I was wrong" or "Previous me was wrong (and a knob)" is important, if not to anyone else, it is to me. It shows that I have a trajectory, that no matter what, I'm still trying to be better. It becomes a way to document my journey, like sketchbooks without pictures, words upon words, essays started that never ever had a point but prove that I was thinking, and that my handwriting is illegible to many.

I say this because I have to eat my own words in a fashion. New lines of experimentation and exploration have changed my mindset and given me a new lust that has lit a fire up my arse. I didn't realise how desperately I needed it. I didn't realise that my not-so-comfort-zone was restricting me so. I don't want to talk too much about what this 'new' is, as it's still in such fragile beginnings I'm scared to break it. I have ideas, real ideas that could be something pretty damned super. I'm excited and scared I'll let myself down. I'm scared that I'm too vulnerable as an artist, where critics might actually shit all over my dreams. I'm scared I might fail.

But then again, aren't all artists vulnerable? Do we not all open those same parts and pull out something beautiful only to be faced with the choice of giving it to the world to react to or hiding it away for ourselves? Do we not all have those fears that actually, maybe, we were wrong?


My honesty is, at times, my biggest fault. I am an intense all-or-nothing woman. I want to be in love or I want to detest. I want to get blind drunk, or sit at home with a good book and the cats. I don't want mediocrity. I learned a long time ago that I'm most comfortable at polar opposites, a symptom (maybe) of my mental health, but also that maybe I have a lust for life that I'm unwilling to let go of. Providing I stay healthy and sleep when I need to, eat when I need to, be kind to myself when I need to, I see no reason to change that.

I recently decided to take better control of my finances. Bizarrely this is something that as always scared me. Apparently Erin-mind has shied away from being in control of her money because it's scary. Don't ask, I'm aware this doesn't make sense. I've changed how I live subtlety, because it occurred to me that actually, maybe I wasn't screwing up as much as I thought I was.

I go to bed by eleven pm, normally with a book. In the mornings I wake slowly, a cup of tea and more reading. I sit and draw and forgive myself when I'm not immediately happy. I stop buying clothes. I don't have many, but when I only get dressed for work or to leave the house I don't need a lot of clothing. I cook myself a proper meal at least once a day, and include at least three fruits or vegetables. I go out drinking and avoid wine and spirits because that never ends well.

I live slowly and enjoy the sun rise each morning on my way home from work. I accept what I cannot change in a new way. I try to laugh more. I try to relax. I tell my friends how glad I am that they are my friends and they deign to spend any time with me. I tell them I'm proud of them. I tell them because I want them to know. I tell them because without then I wouldn't be where I am.

It is these little changes that allow me the pursue my dreams. These changes mean that I am able to feel vulnerable, and to put myself out there with trepidation (but maybe confidence will come soon).I lay in the bath and contemplate ideas and how those ideas could become something tangible that I can grasp. I make cups of tea and sit at the window and marvel that I made it this far, and I've still got so much further to go.

I am the eyes in your radio, and the lies on your television