On Transparency: Who Are You Hiding From?

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When you're a sensitive artist from a very young age you'll begin hearing a variety of the following things:

"you're too emotional"
"why are you always crying?"
"I don't understand you."
"It's not that serious"

Or some variation of these sentiments. You'll learn the importance of balancing the desire to emotionally connect with everyone you meet, save the world, live your dream with the need to function as a normal human being. You'll hear people talk about the dangers of this business and how hard it can be to succeed in it. And you'll feel, firsthand, the difficulty. The energy-zapping, joy-crushing, heartbreaking difficulty. And you'll begin to harden. You don't want to face another onslaught of "when are you going to be famous"-s or "maybe you should go back to school"-s. You learn to put on your best smile and hide behind your glimpses of the life you want. You'll see yourself as a failure no matter how much you accomplish. You'll envy the people who have "normal" lives because one day of normalcy may make you feel human again. But the worst thing you do is become guarded. You forget how to truly be transparent. How could you not? You're rejected daily for years and years. You get your hopes up to have them dashed time and time again and yet there's something that excites you every time you get that call saying that "such and such wants to see you for this project that can change your life"...you can't help it. You learn to show just enough of yourself to be believable but not enough to be emptied. But isn't that why artists are the real heroes? Because we're not like everyone else? Because we're not afraid to cut our chests open and show the world how our hearts beat...?

I don't know how to protect the thing that makes you an artist from the ills of the art itself...or from the red tap that comes with the pursuit of making a living from your art. I don't know how to prepare anyone, not even myself, for the disappointments that are sure to follow the decision to live life as a creative. I don't know how to convince you that the pain is worth the moments of pure bliss that you'll feel when a moment is everything you've dreamed of and more. I don't even know how to teach you to arrive at those moments...I can't tell you how to succeed, I have less practice at it---I'm more well-acquainted with the journey of failing and failing and failing and failing...and...oh, a win...damn, a loss...then I am with a season of nonstop victories. I do not have that luck. I am a relentless warrior who keeps fighting because in order to stop me you have to kill me. I do not know how I developed this armor, I can't teach you a thing about being teflon when fires form all around me. I don't know how I learned that through transparency, I can win.  But I do know that the world needs what I...we...have.

So on the count of 3...unmask. 

What do you have to share with the world that you're hiding because you're afraid? Because you don't think anyone will relate or support? That's what the world needs.

More from Iman here. And here. And...here.

Iman MilnerComment