Article by Sha O.
“Being an artist requires being able to present an image”.
Whether that be a quirky one, an elegant sophisticated one, or a hard-core bold outspoken one, we have an image or a category we want to be seen as. Without it, it’s hard to find both collaborators/other people you work with as well as fans. They won’t quite get what you’re about or what it is that you’re trying to represent in this socially structured world. Now here comes the hard part. What if, once you’ve achieved conveying a certain image to the world that you connect with through your artistry, you become stuck in it and forget to be human before being an artist?
Here are five ideas when we feel stuck being an image
Start saying things the exact way you feel, and not the way you feel you should be saying them, even if that’s in your own journal, blog, social media posts, or directly to your friends. Risk it, don’t over calculate. There’s much more you’ll lose long term by boxing yourself in as a specific picture, than when you try allowing more of yourself to be shown.
- Go places you’ve been wanting to go
Don’t make budget a reason. There’s a lot of places you can visit being frugal, low-budget, and wallet friendly/realistic. Use public transportations, weekend passes, go to free outdoor concerts or free museum days, and make these visits some type of small but exciting adventures that you wouldn’t have experienced had you not pushed yourself. Make these visits count. They are your gateway from feeling new things, and you won’t gain the chance if you don’t try them out.
- Listen to new genres of music
For me, it was Albanian Hip-Hop. It opened my eyes up culturally. Just viewing the music videos, I could feel a new surge of cultural awareness and consciousness come into my life through the visuals of sceneries and emotional stories told. Don’t stick to the presets of genres given by major streaming platforms. They have their reasons why they are popular and there’s beauty to that realm, of course, but to give yourself surprises sonically elsewhere, truly gives you a chance of new spiritual flights.
- Listen to stories
Listen to stories told by your friends, especially the friends that tend to listen to you more than you listen to them. Their stories might give you insights into a more broader view of what this world means, how different people go through lives differently, and how the community affects us all in similar and different ways. Maybe your music has been comforting you a certain way that, at the same time, it’s been restricting your connections with certain types of people. Go look into their stories, possibly through your friends’ stories. Who tends to talk less than you? When you hear his/her untold story for the first time, you just might be amazed by what he/she has been silently carrying all these years, and find a new sense of deeper mutual understanding.
- The “Real Confident” People
Do you have a fashion style that you love or admire, but keep telling yourself that it’s reserved for the “real confident” types of people? What is the box you have for your own self expression that’s stopping you from allowing that admiration to just simply become a part of your own life, too? It’s okay to be something you never thought you’d be. New expression doesn’t mean or equal recklessness. You can prepare your change, expect it, and go through with it. But just remember, if you over prepare, you’ll more likely than not end up terminating what you’ve prepared for from the same fear that’s been stopping you all these years.
Article by Sha O.
cover image: Josua Chun