Love and Art

“What’s the use, in pushing through, I’m already dead to you…” – Matthew Mayfield, “Dead to You”

I’m currently reading Linchpin by Seth Godin. It’s my first foray into Godin’s writing, other than the occasional flip through a column here and there that he’s written – and I’m utterly fascinated by his perspective. The book is about people in business who are integral players – those who innovate, break the rules when necessary, and basically set their own course. These people, by nature of their ability to envision things, become turnkey to the business – linchpins that are the “essential building blocks of the organization.”

As a critical part of this theory, Godin stresses that in each of us, there is an artist. The artist has a gift, and therefore has the ability to envision, to create, to inspire, to build. It is up to each of us to identify our gifts and put in the work to bring them to fruition. It’s easy to see how this applies to business – for example, I love writing. I’m a damn good writer. Therefore, it’s up to me to put myself into a situation that allows me to write, and then, to work at my writing, take chances, and…to quote Lloyd Dobler, find a “dare to be great situation.”

“Most of all, art involves labor. Not the labor of lifting a brush or typing a sentence, but the emotional labor of doing something difficult, taking a risk and extending yourself.

It’s entirely possible that you’re an artist.

Sometimes, though, caught up in the endless cycle of commerce, we forget about the gift nature of art, we fail to do the hard work of emotional labor, and we cease to be artists.”

– Seth Godin in Linchpin

In a conversation with a friend today, I told her that I thought I was dead inside when it came to relationships. I have effectively given up even trying to date. I’ve been burned too many times, disappointed more times than I care to admit, and have grown tired of having faith in people only to be let down. So, rather than invest myself in any further relationships, I have walled off my heart. It’s just easier to be by myself.

But it’s not better.

Last week, someone that I don’t know very well called me jaded. It upset me more than I wanted it to…because I think it’s true more than it isn’t. And it’s sad. Because I was once a girl who, like Carrie Bradshaw, wanted the fairy tale. And I am lucky that I inherited my Mom’s huge heart – there is a part of me that wants to give endlessly. I firmly believe that I am a better person when I’m in a relationship. I’m complete on my own, but I’m MORE when I’m with someone that I love.

I’ve stopped being an artist in my own love life. Because rather than put the work in, rather than risk getting hurt, I’ve just stepped away. Put no emotional labor in, you get nothing out. And in cutting myself off, I’ve just made myself more bitter and angry.

I’m not sure what the first step is to try to be an artist again. I don’t know if I can figure it out. But I am vowing to myself that I will try.

Thanks for the inspiration, Seth.

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8 thoughts on “Love and Art

  1. 1) You really are a damn good writer. I’m so excited you’re writing more often. I wish I could express my thoughts as fluidly as you do. Guess I shouldn’t have slacked off in English class!

    2) You need to give yourself credit for actually putting yourself out there in the past. I applaud you for doing it then and I’m cheering you on now. To make lemonade out of lemons, your life lessons have become invaluable to those you lend your advice and support to. You came into my life the moment I needed you which further confirms my belief that everything happens for a reason. You are due for your good karma my friend. I can’t wait for it to come to you!

    3) Awesome Lloyd Dobler reference 🙂

    • Thank you, my dearest Stacy – for believing in me more than I do myself! Your never ending ability to always see the good in people reminds me that there are still reasons to believe.

      Gotta give credit for the Lloyd Dobler reference to Shelia…she used it today in an e-mail and it, in conjunction with Mr. Godin’s book, obviously got my cogs a turnin’.

      (I owe you a phone call; I promise, it’s coming this week!)

  2. This really hit home for me. I find myself going down that same path, but that’s not what scares me. I think I’m still at the point where the threat of getting hurt trumps the threat of being alone, especially when I find myself surrounded by such amazing friends like you!

    However, your post made me think about making some baby steps…we’ll see how far they get me 🙂

    Heart you!

    • We’ll go it together, sweetpea! I’m equally as scared of being hurt as I am of being alone…but if I we don’t put ourselves out there, how will we ever find “the ones” for us? I will always be here for you, that is one thing you can count on! You’ll never be alone! 🙂

  3. …and thank YOU for the inspiration, Krissie.

    Let me begin my thoughts by saying, and hopefully reminding you, that a relationship does not define you or who you are. Yes, life can be more fulfilling when it is shared with someone you love. Still, the relationship is not who you are but rather a part of who you are.

    As for the artist in you, I believe, as was the case in my own life, that the difficulties you’ve experienced with your heart have fueled your abilities as a writer. I love to write and I love the quote you shared in your blog. Still, I know I was a much deeper and compelling writer back when I was alone than I am now. I am so blessed to have the life I have now and a wonderful family with which to share it, but I know the many good times and experiences take away from my ability to write with the same level of zeal and fervor that I used to have five years ago.

    I guess my point is this. Life is cyclical and I firmly believe you will find the romantic companionship you seek in time. I think it’s great you’ve decided to keep your options open and to invest in the emotional heavy lifting. I know you will be glad you did.

    • Thanks, Gil.

      Like I said in the post, “I’m complete on my own, but I’m MORE when I’m with someone that I love.” My mom taught me to be independent, and I never believe that one person needs another person to define his or herself.

      Anyway, here’s to taking chances! 🙂

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