19 April 2016

The Why

17 March 2016, 4.57pm.

Lately I've heard a lot of people talk about 'finding your why' -- why you commit to healthy eating, weight loss, dance, writing, or whatever else. It's something I've always struggled to define for myself as an artist. The closest I ever came to verbalising it was something I wrote on a scrap of paper what I hoped would eventually be a poem. The poem never materialised, but the final line still rings in my head: why do I write? I write so you can't see me cry.

Was that it? Was it simply my coping mechanism, my life support through the deepest recesses of depression? And is that why my inspiration is gone now? Has it served its purpose? Was that my 'why' -- to stay alive? It's very likely that without being able to use writing as an outlet for my suicidal fantasies, I'd be dead now.

Or was my 'why' to prove my relatives that I could do what they blatantly told me I couldn't? I got so tired of them squashing my dreams before they were even fully formed that I started doing exactly what they said I couldn't, for the sheer pleasure of proving them wrong. But now they've (more or less) realised that telling me 'you can't' not only means I will, thank you very much, it also means I get REALLY cross with them, so now they don't tell me I can't do things. But it's left me without moorings. Now they're so afraid of kindling my wrath (I don't blame them) that they have absolutely zero opinion whether or not I'm on the right track, even when I plead and beg for their opinion whether or not they think I'll like it. Basically, they quit telling me I was stupid in favour of ignoring me completely.

So now that the suicidal thoughts are gone, and my relatives don't even deign to tell me I'm stupid anymore, I have no motivation. My 'why' is gone.

The problem is, I still want to make art.

Now what?

I have to find something to strive for, some reason to keep creating things, some goal, however abstract. For someone with my upbringing, the obvious answer is 'to bring glory to God.' Indeed, most people in my realms of influence don't even ask why I dance or write or anything, they just fill in the blank with this answer. It actually irritates me a bit, because I know it's not true. Admittedly that's what it should be, but I'll freely admit I am not at that point. I can say that's my why till I'm blue in the face, but I know in my heart that it's not.

Lately I've been saying I dance because I love it.  This is a perfectly satisfactory answer for friends/relatives/the general public, but I personally need something more specific than that, if only for my own clarification.

Why do I dance? Why do I write? Why do I create? Without an answer, I will likely plateau. The fact that I can't even come up with an answer haunts me.

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