When you see a struggling artist, be kind
Are you a struggling artist-A poet? A musician? An actor? A writer? A comedian? You should read this.
If you are not a struggling artist, you should read this so you understand what these idiots are up to. A full time struggler is unlike a full time employee. A full time employee is also a struggler, since he/she is struggling for relevance in his/her job, but it’s a relatively easier struggle, a white collared struggle. We are talking about people who can do a white collared job, but they choose to throw away the collar to go into the world wearing tees and shorts. While doing all this, trying to find relevance.
Unlike a struggling employee, a struggling artist doesn’t get paid for the struggle. In fact, he/she invests his time, energy and money to do what he is trying to do. They don’t know how long it might take and also don’t know, how long it will last.
From an insider’s perspective (I am a struggling writer-comedian), let me tell you the kind of pressures, an aspiring artist has to go through.
1. Financial Pressure
I know a bunch of people who quit their cushy jobs to do what they love doing. The lure of the passion makes people do weird things. Passion is like a magnet which invites people to lead an amazing life, leaving most of them temporarily miserable. They struggle through financial difficulties just for a chance to do what they love.
I know people who didn’t get into relationships because they were not sure if their partners will be able to bear the burden of their struggle. It’s not easy for themselves to bear it themselves. There are people who juggle jobs and side gigs in the hope that they would eventually get paid for what they really love to do.
2. Emotional Pressure
Let’s talk about this. Do you know what it takes to fail over and over and get back on the stage again or to go to a blank sheet again?
Failure and rejection drains anyone emotionally. It’s not easy. It takes a strain on physical and mental health. People smoke, do drugs, waste themselves for days, just to fight the emotional turbulence inside. It’s a tough world backstage, not matter what the art form.
Their families wonder what they are doing to their lives. They are questioned on a daily basis and these questions make them question their own decisions. It’s emotionally draining to live in two emotional states.
One, where they are telling yourself that they can make it. Two, a state where they are questioning everything they are doing.
There are two kinds of peer pressure.
One, the pressure from people who the artist has left behind-classmates from school and college, who are leading an altogether different life. They are settled at the right time and leading well timed lives.
The second kind of peer pressure comes from other artists, who are growing faster than they are, as they wonder where they went wrong.
Art is highly individualistic and everyone grows at their own speed. There are multiple reasons for this, including individual capacity to produce great work.
However, the pressure is real and it is killing. Artists look at people they had shared time with and wonder if they are on the right path. The conundrum is real and it feels in the skin.
4. The pressure to give up
They want to give up. They know it inside of them. They want to give up and lead a comfortable life. A life where they go to a job and make predictable income. After a few years in, they are not even sure if you are capable of a 9–5 routine. But, they tell themselves that they can do this. They tell themselves over and over till they start believing it.
That makes them want to struggle because they think they can have a tangible impact on the world. They can make a difference. They can impact thinking. They can make people happy. THEY CAN MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY. THEY CAN MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY.
5. The pressure of hope
The anti-pressure to the pressure of giving up is the pressure of hope. They think they can crack this and so they stay at it. They try and they try harder. They keep showing up.
Something inside of them tells says that they can make it through the darkness and so they keep working at it. So, they keep working, in spite of the plateaus, the failures, in spite of all the shit that’s thrown at them in the name of ‘struggle.’
Hope is a horrible thing. It makes them believe life will be better tomorrow. It makes them work hard when they want to quit and quitting is easy. That’s why so many people do it. Rightfully, some of the biggest successes of our world are people who did not give up in spite of insurmountable odds.
So, they stick around.
They stick around.
When you see an aspiring artist lost in his/her own thoughts, be kind.
Thank you for reading.
Call to action: If you liked the story, please clap. It helps, a lot.