I did it. My first art venue. My artwork was featured in an art event where I had my very own venue to fill with anything I wanted. Second Saturday Art Night is put on by the Shasta Arts Council in Redding and every second Saturday of the month from 5-8pm local artists are featured at participating businesses around town. It is free and anyone can drive around town and look at art and enjoy the appetizers. I enjoyed being an observer at these events and was encouraged to be one of the artists of the month.
So tonight I did it. I had my artwork up at a local real estate company which was located in a prime spot for the Art Hop. From 5-8pm I talked to guests and did my best to schmooze (so that’s how you spell it), which is not one of my best qualities. Luckily, the wine helped bring down a few walls. Most people who came in gave me positive responses and encouragement. Everything went without a hitch. People came, ate, drank, saw, and then it was over. It went smoothly. So why am I fighting back tears? Why do I feel so discouraged? Why do I feel like I’ve just been intimate with someone who doesn’t even remember my name? It’s not like I had a bad experience. It’s like I’m laying in bed naked while a stranger tells me, “hey you’re pretty good kid. I’ll see ya around.” and then walks out the door. I didn’t fail. I satisfied. Didn’t I? But it was a one night stand not love at first sight. As I left the venue and headed over to meet my boyfriends family at a near by bar to listen to some live music the feeling started to sink in. Am I loveable? Am I good enough to love? I sat down at our table and I felt like I was drifting. Somber waves were coming over me. At first I didn’t know what was happening. I had fun tonight. Right? Why do I instantly feel alone? Why do I feel so small? I just accomplished something. I had an art show. I am getting my name out there. I’m networking. I told myself it’s not about about selling anything even though I desperately hoped I would. Wait… I did sell something, but my boyfriend’s mom doesn’t count. That’s like a sympathy sale. I want to be loved. As my party leaves the bar I’m left alone at a big table listening to the soothing yet sad voice of a touring Swedish folk singer. I try fight the tears that are attempting to stain my face. This singer performing is trying to be loved just like I attempted. I love her. I think it would be harder to sing my way into love than just hang it on the walls. Even though there are die hard fans for singers rather than artists; The Beatles, Elvis, Katy Perry. No one buys 300 dollar tickets and waits all day crammed with 100,000 people to see a photo shoot with Annie Lebovitz… who’s that? My point exactly. But singing is never ending. You don’t get to hang it on the wall and be finished.
I hate the feeling that my surroundings are the only thing holding back the well that is close to overflowing. I know that once I leave the table and walk outside my body will release what small restraint it had left. This knowledge makes me stay. A small part of me wants to get the crying over with. I just want to purge myself of this emotion. I notice a tip jar on the stage. I want to encourage this artist. I decide I’ll tip her before I leave. I don’t know what is keeping me at this bar all alone listening to music from this folk singer who is keeping my emotions raw. Then the singer says she’s had bad days. She tells us and by us I think she is speaking only to me, that her dad once told her that being a successful artist isn’t how many cds you sell or how many states you tour in that it is about never giving up. Nothing could have been more perfect and horrifying to hear in that moment. I don’t know why that when you are upset that those perfect words that you needed to hear make you more emotional instead of cheer you up. Now I really wanted out of there to let the flood invade my face. I waited till she was done to give her a 10 dollar tip. I didn’t want to tip her that much, but I felt that I should. I knew it would be a little encouragement and that any amount of encouragement as an artist can make a difference between pressing on and giving up. I made it to my car before I broke down. It’s just so hard and vulnerable pursuing art. As I drove I tried to suck it up, as if tears make you more sad so if you fight the tears the emotion will be defeated. When that didn’t work I thought maybe if I just sob and heave then it will get out of my system sooner. I decided to purge, but I refrained from compounding my pain with pity using examples of how hard my life is right now; I have no money, I’m not good enough, I’m still battling an injury, I live at home, woe is I. I refused to take pity on myself. I don’t want to wallow. I want to get whatever this emotion is far away from me. I’m hoping that I will run out of tears and exhaust myself into indifference. I make it home just at the peak of my despair. As I turn my car off and put my head on the steering wheel my dog, Vive, jumps onto my window. She is so excited to see me. Doesn’t she realize I’m having a breakdown. As she jumps frantically around my car searching for a way to reach me my mind shifts. It feels great to have a friendly face who doesn’t care about how my day went. She is just so happy I’m home. Laughter starts to permeate through my sobs before it over takes them. Now I’m just laughing. This stupid dog has robbed me of my despair. It’s over. I pick myself up and walk inside. It’s not about how many pieces I sell or who likes my art, it’s that I never give up. I won’t give up.