I’ve talked a lot about finding your people, about finding people who will support you and give you the strength you need to keep going.
And I’ve also talked about walking away: about shedding influences on your life with are detrimental to you.
What happens when those two things collide? When you find your people (whether they be fellow writers, fellow actors, fellow musicians, fellow mathematicians, whatever), but they’re stoppering up your art? They might not be doing it on purpose, or maybe they are. For whatever reason, you’ve found your people and simultaneously lost your art.
So you decide to walk away.
Now what? You’re alone, and the only way to not be alone is to turn back to something destructive to you.
It seems like you’re stuck, doesn’t it? I’ve been there before. There is, however a simple solution: you keep going. You go alone.
Looking Back, not Going Back
There’s a lot of inspirational quotes out there about “never looking back, only ahead”, and I think they’re foolish. If you never look back on your life, you’ll never learn and you’ll go through life making the same mistakes.
So, when you walk away, when you go it alone, remember to look back. It can get hard, at times, to go through a period of life alone. It’s hard to create art alone, sometimes. So look back: look back and remember why you chose to do this alone.
Never forget: creating art alone is temporary. When we walk alone, we’re not doing it forever. Someday, you’re going to stumble upon someone who is also going it alone, and then you’ll go together. You’ll find new people, new ways to find support and strength.
If you’re currently going it alone, look back, but don’t go back. When you find yourself becoming desperate for those times when you had your own people (stifling or no), choose to look back at the things you learned, and then continue forward. Don’t go back to those times, even as you look on them. Instead, learn to move forward.
Even if it’s by yourself.
Looking for ways to Learn
What’s the point in creating art alone? I mean, if no one else is going to see the art I make, why make it at all? I know a lot of people who have that kind of thought all the time, and I’ve thought about it before as well: why do I write books I won’t ever let anyone else read? Why write what people will never see?
The times we create art alone are the times we learn the most. When it comes to writing, the best way to learn how to write is to simply write. If we don’t have to worry about an audience, we’ll just learn. Going it alone isn’t very fun, sometimes, but it is a great time to learn.
The same going for all other kinds of art: even the art of life. Sometimes, we just need to be alone so we can be free to learn.
We’re all in different places in life. Right at this moment, you may be surrounded by supportive people, or you may be flourishing on your own, or you may even be struggling to through off the hampering influence of detrimental relationships and situations.
Whatever your part in life you may feel you have, the hardest part is finding contentment.
For me, I’m currently in this weird transition stage between striving to create art alone, and being surrounded by supportive people with the same strengths and weaknesses and struggles and hopes. It’s strange, at times, to consider how many people I have rooting for me, when just a few years ago I really had no one (beyond my close family, who really had no idea). I consider myself blessed. At the same time, it’s also a challenge because so many people actually care about my art that they want to see it.
It’s a challenge because they’re asking me to be vulnerable (whether they realize it or not). It’s a personal struggle, learning to overcome that hesitancy.
But I’m learning.
I’m learning and I’m growing to be content.
And so do you. Wherever you are, you can become content. Content in being alone, knowing that someday you’ll find someone. Content in walking away, knowing that walking through art alone isn’t always a bad thing. Content in the people you’ve found, knowing that their strengths are greater than their flaws.