Thursday, July 19, 2012

Slave To The Should?

I admire Painters (capital P intentional). Among my favorite muses are people who really dedicated themselves to the single act of painting on a regular, if not daily basis. People like Georgia O'Keefe, Frida Kahlo, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse and many others who made capturing and creating something on canvas and all that entailed the central focus of their life. For much of my life I have looked to these shining examples as role models and aspired to be like them. What I have learned, however, is that I am not like them. This revelation has bothered me in the past but I have recently come to accept it and believe I am on my way to embracing it.

This doesn't mean I am giving up painting. It is still one of my favorite things to do ever but it is not the only thing I do and though I go through phases where I paint a lot, it is not always the focus of my life. I used to think this was because I lacked discipline or dedication but then I had an interesting conversation with my muse that made me look at things a little differently.

I have been doing a lot of projects around the house lately, such as the garden shed in my last post and a bathroom renovation I hope to complete and tell you about soon. It is very demanding work that has left me little time to do much else. I have had to let some other tasks go temporarily and I am fortunate that my lifestyle is flexible enough to allow me to do this. Still, I kept hearing this voice in my head that told me I SHOULD be painting. I thought this voice belonged to my muse but when I finally confronted her about it she was extremely insulted.

“Let me tell you something once and for all,” she began indignantly with her hands on her hips, “my voice is not the one that tells you that you SHOULD do something, my voice is the one that says you HAVE TO do it and because you know what's good for you, you have always heeded it.”

“Really?” I asked, wondering which one of us was delusional. Had I not been rebelling against her all this time?

“Really.” She confirmed, triumphantly gesturing to the newly tiled and painted bathroom we were standing in, “Who do you think got you to do all this?”

I thought back to the insane amount of hard work I had done over the last few weeks and why and realized it was true. She isn't the voice in my head telling me I should do things that I'm not doing. She is the one who plants the images in my head, the visions that haunt me until I have no choice but to realize them any way I can.

“So who keeps telling me I should be painting?” I wondered.

“Obviously someone with a lot less knowledge and wisdom than I have.” She replied with her usual confidence. “I wouldn't listen to them at all.”

And then she blinked out of sight. 

I found that very annoying but then I looked around at my bathroom that was starting to come together and I had to admit that woman knows what she is doing. I, however, am not the rebel I once thought I was, not because I have been doing my muse's bidding even more than I realized, but because I allowed that other voice, that “should” voice, to boss me around for far too long. I think I am done with that.

So, maybe I'm not going to be a Painter but that's okay, I already have a job, remember? It's called being a “Slave To The Muse” and it turns out that I'm actually pretty good at it.


  1. I'd say you're very good at it! Can't wait to see the bathroom. I'm sure it will be amazing! :)

    1. Thanks Debbie. The Bathroom is mostly finished but I am being picky about final details.