zeddess reloaded

I See You
It's been sometime since my last entry....I had an enlightened personal existential crisis of sorts that required my attention be firmly on the artistic process and not on the immersion of a self-indulgent love affair with words that is so often my comfort food.
How does one have an enlightened crisis? Rather than an enlightening crisis? Because the conflict and turmoil of the emotional aspect was still under that wonderful control of the mind - where dysfunction for the sake of expression was NOT a possibility, only pure direction and focus of such energies into a creative and constructive arena. Inner struggle is allowed to be productive.

What was the crisis? Definition. Identity and identification with both the audience and primarily with myself as the artist. Living under a mountain of superficial external assumptions that were attempts to contain me and define me under the subjective perspectives and experiences of people WHO DO NOT LIVE AS I DO.
I don't like restrictive limits, I like constructive ones. I live by my own choices of personal limits, as well as creative and artistic ones, and I allow others to do the same. I choose to view their personal expressions as defined by their choice in limits, without my labels, or assumptions, only my reactions and responses to a person THAT IS NOT ME. How on earth can I extend my own world view if I do not look at other people as being a unique collection of lessons, experience, training, culture and personal beliefs? If for a moment, I start thinking that they think as I do, I may as well go and live in a box somewhere by myself, because there is nothing new to learn.

And there's the rub. Because that's the way I think, not the way others think. I have expectations of people wanting to revel in their unique personality because I do. Having discovered my own blindness to this concept, I now see that in the majority, people want each other to think the same way, be the same kind of people, have no true definition from each other, all the while talking about being different and individual but still remaining a part of the same thing.
Gotta love the paradox in that. Not to mention the blind irony.

There is a strange persistent phenomenon that occurs in my life - friends have remarked on it as being odd, so I know I'm not alone in this perception. People walk up to me and start trying to tell me who to be. Strangers, people I have never met before in my life, who walk over and start dictating to me how to live, what to think, what to feel, how to behave...... It's the weirdest thing, people see an artist, and somehow become stuck on the idea that they have never done anything else in their life but sit and draw. Because, as we all know, artists are aliens, and are new to this planet.....

I struggled with this for a while, because I couldn't identify with this behaviour - I didn't understand where they were coming from, what was causing this to continue to happen, and why on earth would a person go out of their way to re-write the personality and identity of someone they don't even know?
A friend of mine told me that it was a good sign, that people always run up to celebrities and tell them what to do with their lives......true, but I didn't think this was the case. I'm a bit of a local character, but hardly a celebrity.
I shifted towns, went to new locations, just looking for some other atmosphere to work in, some other energy to play in. I met new people, established new friendships, discovered a little more of the place I'm living in...... and yet, without fail, no matter where I went, it continued to happen.

What really bothered me? It was starting to affect my work. Every time I sat down to get with the art, I started feeling wary, conscious of the people around me, who was looking at me.....It was a constant sensation of scrutiny and a feeling of vulnerability, because I was beginning to anticipate this behaviour. I wasn't focusing on the work, I was too busy watching out for the next intruder.
I changed where I was sitting. Didn't work. Changed what I was wearing. Didn't work. I was getting tied up in the details of how I was behaving in public to elicit this kind of attention, feeling frustrated by what I didn't understand, getting short and impatient with people, because I was constantly waiting for the next script writer to come along and give me their oh-so important opinion about what I should be doing with my life, my feelings, my thoughts, my imagination, my art, my work hours, my social choices. It was beyond surreal - it became months and months of gradual inhibition working its way into my psyche, attacking my flow and confidence, subverting my focus and gnawing away at my vitals like a worm in the heart. I have not felt that low in many many years, defensive and snarly, suspicious and paranoid.

The past few weeks have seen the peak of this issue. I looked into the mirror one day, and I didn't recognize myself - tired, stressed out, worried, like I'd been living in a horror movie one day too long. I was not happy. I was feeling bullied and put upon, and hounded and I was letting it get the better of me.
I don't like ignoring people. I don't enjoy being angry. I like my flow, the easy rhythm, when life is like jazz. But people need limits. So I created them.

The next self-appointed life coach came along, and I ignored their 'recommendations' and asked them when they last visited the website, did they follow my blogs, had they seen the new tshirt designs, and what did they think of the latest offerings in the Prints section......? Hmm, well?
They had never heard of zeddess arts, didn't know that I was selling my work online, didn't know that there was even a market for the arts - because of course, I should be working as a tattooist. So I handed them a business card, as usual, blinded them with official zeddess rhetoric, told them I was looking forward to hearing from them, contact me anytime by email, and sent them on their way.
They were back the next day to ask about new tshirt designs.

And that's how I did that.

I'm the first to admit, I tend to be a little blase with my sales pitch - I prefer that people come to their own conclusions about the work, that they want it because it speaks to them, not because I'm doing the talking. It's a work in progress....
The real moral of the story?
It's a culture of false authority. Here is a complete stranger attempting to assume social authority over me, and ended up surrendering to mine. Not because there was any authority at all, but there was the need for the illusion of it. I am the authority in my life, I make the choices and the decisions that affect me - and that is sacred, gives the self meaning. Gives the art life, and the life, art. Having it challenged in such an insidious fashion was alien to me, and as such, created inner conflict. Recognizing it for what it was made it simple to address, without anger or heat, back to the flow and the rhythm, and all that jazz.

And back to work......