Well, are you? Forget the number of followers you have or how much product you’ve sold. Are you able to finish your day off with a great sense of accomplishment? Do you feel empty? I hope not. This life is too quick to take time basking in joylessness. What’s the point of expressing art if your personal sense of enjoyment lacks immensely? Doing all for nothing can cause a great deal of emptiness and lackluster. Such a state of being can lead to depression. Many artists can thrive under such conditions, yet others find it to be the last step before deciding there are no more to take…period.
Find your joy or take it back from whom/ what you given permission to possess it. Your joy is not your audiences’ or clients’. It belongs to you because after dedicating time to your craft, you need something that dedicates itself to you. Maybe that’s a hobby you take part in three times a week with a small group from church or it’s probably your workout regimen you maintain weekly (yes, working out can be fun). Maybe it’s spending time with your dog or even going to catch a movie in the middle of the week. Your art provides for others, but does it also provide for you? Looking to your art as a primary source of happiness can be crippling if you have no identity in its absence. Pure happiness allows art to become an extension of who you already are. Feeding into something much bigger than you makes the art worth every minute.
I went out on a date with my fiancé recently to The Bee’s Knees in Downtown Augusta, Georgia (excellent place to chill under some dim lighting and enjoy a hearty meal with someone in which you delight). We had the Chicken Stir-Fry that was big enough for both of us to share, alongside some thick fries dipped in ketchup and honey mustard (sorry if I’m making you hungry). The joy of that night was the conversation and laughter, minus our cellphones. It was refreshing to look at her as we exchanged thoughts. There were no interruptions. No notifications or bright, small screens at the palm of our hands. It was just us, two plates, glasses of water, and random topics. That encounter was food for my spirit. Our bodies are vehicles we drive daily and without secure maintenance, stopping on the side of road due to overheating is a mile away. Our spirits must be nourished with happiness so that we can provide quality not just for ourselves, but our consumers.
Your audience is not just buying into your product, but you as an individual. Your zeal causes them to gravitate towards its source, having them ask, how can I get that? Become somebody’s go-to because at some point, someone provided the same thing for you. We all need to be reminded how deserving we are of happiness and joy. Happiness is an appetizer, preparing you for the main course—joy. Happiness is a prerequisite, allowing you to advance to the meat of living—joyfulness. So ask yourself again. Are you happy? If so, like Tinker Bell told Peter in Hook (1991, starring Robin Williams), “Just hold that happy thought, Peter!” If not, find it, engulf it in your arms and heart. It adds shine to your gift. It’s a nice polish one applies so that others can appreciate its value just as much as you do.
- Calvin Pennywell, Jr.