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Pictured: an art installation from the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, summer 2019. There is text that reads “This is Unreal.”
Some days I wake up craving the quiet, looking forward to rest from the overstimulation of being a person with things to do in a city that requires you to always be doing.
Some days, like today, I get what I asked for. But rather than sit in that stillness I had sought after, I realize a restlessness eating away at me instead.
Suggested music listening:
Here’s something I journaled in Summer 2021:
I’m resigning from systemized, privatized unhappiness
From not feeling prioritized
While my energy is monetized
Right into someone else’s pockets
I’m thinking about joy
Sunlight through trees
Open car windows
Whatever isnt just a fading streak on my bedroom walls
Like many people, I lost my job at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. The job I lost wasn’t a pivotal point in my career (I wasn’t even working in the entertainment industry at the time, I was working at a gym), but it was a space I grew incredibly comfortable in. I made new friends, had a lot of fun, and reached fitness goals I never imagined. When that went away, I began to spiral about what I was doing with my life and my time.
For the next year, I juggled unemployment and freelance contracts. I dug deep within me to surface any project I previously put on the back-burner. I threw myself into making the most out of the situation, and coming out of this period with something to show. I wanted so badly to uphold the reputation of overcoming, that I even allowed myself to get taken advantage of professionally by some folks. I settled for less, said yes to the tiniest promise of exposure. The journal entry I shared above is from when I finally decided to assert my worth, said “price goin’ up!” and started reclaiming my space.
Look, I hate the expression “money doesn’t buy happiness.” Because yeah, I know a lot of people with privilege, access, and disposable income that are still miserable and unsatisfied. Devoid of passion and living in excess to compensate for it. But I’d be remiss to say having money wouldn’t make life as a creative a little less sad. Just think of all the art supplies, studio space/hours, equipment rentals, etc that could exist without worry of going into further debt! Think of all the stuff you could make if it wasn’t necessary to commodify everything you loved! Think of how totally acceptable it could be to be imperfect and incomplete if nothing was really at stake every time you put something out into the world!
How do we as artists balance the demands of capitalism with our own dreams? When did the desire for reward and recognition take the place of expression and empathy?
I guess that’s why art is considered a practice — a craft, a livelihood, more than just an object. We go back and forth, wavering between “hell yeah i’m cool af” and “fuck this shit,” over and over, until we are brought back to the very essence of what we love. We fight to figure out how much those atomized particles still mean to us after they’ve blown up in our face. And sometimes, we don’t win until we decide to.
As I go through my archives and reflect, I’m proud of how much I was able to accomplish, even when there were moments I was forcing the wrong fit, or felt like my efforts weren’t amounting to anything. I did what I had to do, and I can get through it again tenfold.
Here is a story I just read after my Daily Cry™️ about capitalism:
I didn’t plan to write another post so soon since my last one was literally at 2AM today. I don’t even know if any of this has form or if my ramblings have gone too far. But I felt this topic heavy on my heart.
If you’ve followed my journey as a writer over the years, you might be familiar with this post I wrote about my experience visiting the MCA Chicago during Virgil Abloh’s show Figures of Speech in Summer 2019.
“the process and the end product are equally as valuable.” - virgil abloh // i don’t always agree with his creative choices but i do respect his work ethic. to value design and structure from the inside out, to take utilitarian items (and the lifestyles that come with them) and make them something worth looking harder at, something worth discussing.
I also appreciated this Tweet in response to the news of Abloh’s passing:
Readers: When was the last time you were your own biggest fan?
I think I’ve said a lot today, so I’ll leave you with a few more pictures from my archives. Let me know in the comments if anything speaks to you.