Respect Requirement by Adrianne Marcia
It was Christmas Eve and we were having a good time the way a family like mine does. Games, drinks, and lots and lots of noise. In a matter of minutes, the laughter turned into anger and shouting and the scale tipped massively in a way it never had before. While my head was swirling, my mouth was silent in shock and observation. There by my feet, was Kitty, my tuxedo cat, who was accustomed to all of the noise. She’s only a cat so she had no idea what was going on. I gently scooped her into my arms and retreated to the room. Behind closed doors, I found an opportunity to gather myself before going to see what damage control I could offer. As a singer, I feel my melodies so feeling the heightened tension in my family’s home was overwhelming. Retreating to my room is a self-respect requirement that I’ve established.
Maybe family time isn’t great for you, either. A lot of damaging words sneak, slither, or fly out of the mouths of people we care about. A huge sense of disrespect can come from such a tiny gesture or mention. While one friend receives a new condenser mic and another, a Mac, in support of their creativity, there are others whose families question the seriousness of their music, dance, or visual art. Many have been discouraged due to the unpredictability of making a living as an artist. Many have been discouraged because of family shame for not choosing “a more sophisticated profession”. Many creatives are ostracized from their families not because of art, but because of their message.
As we continue to live the creative life, we will find the need to set a respect requirement. You will decide where your money is spent as a creative. Your extra income will be spent differently than your non-creative familial counterparts. You may work a second job or take extra hours just because you want to save for new creative tools and your family may think it wasteful or frivolous. You may divvy up your spare time or eat in a way that caters to your creative lifestyle. Maybe your family bends accordingly. Maybe it doesn’t.
Respect allows us to honor our purpose without stepping on landmines. Sometimes, it’s best to love our loved ones from afar and step off of the “savior” platform so that we can live our lives creatively in our purpose.