A love letter to young artists



My Dear Young (and not so young) Artista,

This is your Ate Chiqui speaking. I, along with my fellow Inartestas (Chacha, Allison, Vina, Sienna, Myrna and Liezl, yes i’ve formed a committee in my head na) am writing to you today because it’s time. It’s time to…

1) Set things straight. Beginning with a Permission Slip. You, yes YOU have absolute permission to be an artist. If you’ve doubted it all along, today is the day that we banish this doubt. Yes, you will still hear the little gravelly voice of your monster Worry not, chocnut.  They are friendly if you know how to feed them:  You don’t.  This monster will whisper doubt-thoughts and doubt-stories in your head.  Remember: they’re just that: whispers. you are an artist. you can choose to listen. or not. if you do, then create from that place of doubt and fear. it’s ok. i’ve done it many times. i’m doing it right now. still works.  see?  🙂

2) Shine. Common cliché, you say? so is the common sun as it shines for everyone. like the sun, shine and show that beautiful piece you’ve been hiding in the basement or baul.  shine and bake that cake you’ve been wanting to share with your friends so you can perhaps take orders this xmas season. shine and sing that song! sing it, bebe, no matter how…

3) Silly, you are! No matter how absolutely stupid it feels. it’s ok. stupid is ok. who knew, right!? you don’t know what you’re doing? that’s ok. neither do i/we.

4) Shun the shame. So you’ve been shamed all your life – as a child, as an adult, by your family/teachers/partners/community. yup, it hurts like hell. you were shamed into silence. i remember having a “well-respected” workshop facilitator rally everyone in the room into a *shame* feedback fest featuring me, who else, for simply speaking up and sharing what i then felt to be my truth.  apparently, to him, i sounded *fake* and disingenuous.  maybe i was.  perhaps i was coming across all wrong.  point is his intention was to shame me into silence.  i know what it feels like to get your heart broken time and again. but, wait, we realize something: every time we break, we got over it. magic? no. resilience, yes. now it’s time to let your resilient self shun the shame and stick it where the sun don’t shine. because you are both light and shadow and you’ve been slinking in the dark for way too long. today, we are choosing to come into the Light. (review #2) because it’s time. time to…

5) Share. Trust me on this. it may feel like the most scary, utterly stupid, semi-suicidal thing to do. believe me when i say i get it.  even for someone like me who’s done it countless times on stage or a recorded material, i lost it.  i even thought, forever.  i did what my coach, Julie, taught me many moons ago: do the MDA Technique = Minimum Daily Allowance. take one photo. even the simplest one. click! you made art. do a doodle on a post-it, even if only a circle with dots and a curve. voila…smiley face. do the smallest, most microscopic thing you can do and share and grow it from there. this thing works magic. share your MDA with one. and see how good it feels when you do. one day, you’ll realize, it doesn’t feel so scary anymore. or it will but you’ll be much stronger.

6) Celebrate! stuff are moving so fast. which is why it’s more important to take a pause – take a breath and celebrate the wins, big or small, with something simple yet special to you.  i celebrate with a ball of yarn, a book or a bottle of perfume everytime i overcome. on oct 11, launch day of TCPS, my babalicious hubster invited me to a lovely late lunchdate and then to the yarn store!  i got a big bag of all kinds of yarn. on sale! i know. i’m such a lola already and i’m not even one yet. my bff, myrna, and i are practicing our granny moves early.  Haha!

7) Sit. Sit quiet and say a prayer of thanks for all of the above, for all that you’ve done – whether in doubt mode or divine diva (divo) mode. sit. daily. and connect with the Spirit from which all Good things come. my favorite form of sitting is my yoga practice. yoga is when i connect with my own Self and my deep needs. the body never lies. sometimes, we are deaf and can’t connect. which is when trouble arises. the pains and aches and body breakdowns are but manifestations of us playing dumb to our body’s messages.

8) Smile. smile because you’re alive. smile because you’re growing. smile because you’re GLOWING. just look at you! you may not realize it but you are beautiful beyond measure. look with loving eyes at yourself in the mirror and see just how this Truth has been hiding underneath all the layers of doubt, fear, shame and silence.

These may be simple steps.  We human beans love to complicate things to make them seem more important or effective, worthwhile and who-the-heck-are-we-fooling?  Ourselves!

I say this with all the Love my heart can hold: Dear Artist, it’s time to remove the blinders that have been covering your eyes. It’s time to reveal the real you. YOU ARE AN ARTIST. You have been created in the likeness and the being of the one true God. So go and be you. Beautiful, bright and bedazzling YOU.