Friday, December 3, 2010

The Art of Conversation

Yesterday I had lunch with a friend and colleague of mine, a fellow contemporary artist, we are essentially just getting to know each other on a personal level and we submersed ourselves in a compelling conversation. We discussed our goals as artists as well as our sincere reasons for doing what we do. We asked each other some interesting and provoking questions and inspired each other to move forward with these objectives despite the negative reaction we may receive. 

We both expressed frustration with our current jobs and the fact that everyone thinks its so cool! And are constantly telling us what a great job we have, or how they would love to have our job and that we are so lucky, must be so fun, etc. Yes it is, sometimes, but it's still work. It is not all fun all the time. Now I now everyone gets frustrated with their work at times but the real question we find ourselves asking is, is this  really what we want to be doing?

Well we shouldn’t complain right? Lots of people would love to have our job, especially in this economy, its money, it’s a steady income, its one of the more well paid jobs in the city. But if we settle for this mediocrity then there is no opportunity for excellence.

We have altered our lives by moving here because we did not feel that our previous homes fit our needs. So why should we sacrifice our goals and reasons for being here only to do a job we don’t like just to make a buck?  When do we actually try to fulfill our life ambitions? We get so caught up in the world around us and the bubble that we live in that we forget to look beyond that, we realize this is not what we want to be doing, but don’t really know how to move away from that.

Both of us have lived in Florence for many years and we have seen many people come and go we wonder why that is. Is it where we are or who we are that is the problem? What is it that we are looking for? And do we think we can find it simply by changing our environment? And sure one could argue that other countries assure higher paying jobs, but does it really matter how much money you are making if you are not truly happy?

When is it time to take that risk and do what it is we believe in? Why is it that we are so afraid to be ourselves? Is it because everyone tells us we can’t, tells us how hard it is to be ourselves, to accomplish our goals, so we passively continue doing what we are doing because it’s just easier that way?

The jobs we have are guaranteed income, there is no fight involved, no struggle to communicate our message. One of the examples used in the conversations was comparing our artwork to speaking a second language. We know how to speak the language and we understand the language, but we still make mistakes and there are times when we might not be able to properly explain exactly what it is that we want to say but we must get over that fear of error and just open our mouths and speak. That fear often times causes us to say nothing at all.  

I realized yesterday that I am missing out on a whole world because I’m involved in another that doesn’t fit right.  It’s right in front of me and I just didn’t see it.

What frustrates me more than anything else is that I too moved away from Florence 6 years ago, OMG, to go back to school, searching for something more, I didn’t want to do this job anymore, and then I came back and I am still doing it. I only have myself to blame. I told myself it would only be for a few months while I figured everything else out, and now 3 years later I feel stuck doing something just to make the money.
Another friend asked me why am I spending all of my energy to make someone else prosper when I should be using it to prosper myself? Great question. The truth is, I am scared I will fail; I am scared that I am not good enough.

I keep telling myself that I can always go back to my day job if it doesn’t work, am I setting myself up for failure? Does success come when we tell ourselves that there is no alternative? It’s all or nothing. I’m not fishing for compliments here or for anyone else to assure me of my ability or talent because that is only something I can do within myself. I am genuinely trying to work out this dilemma.

We have to ask ourselves, what will we regret more? What we’ve done or what we haven’t done? I believe in being passionate about what you do, and apparently I have become a very good actor because people tell me all the time how obvious my passion is for what I do, how much they can tell that I love my job. And I indulge them,  I tell them how lucky I am and how great it is that I get to do this. And I am lying through my teeth! 

I need to converge on my own work, not continuously focus on the work of others. I want to admire the past but move into the future. When a person is truly happy it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing or thinking or saying. Envy dies when fulfillment is reached.

Life is about demanding more of yourself, and my current position no longer does that for me. It’s as if I have stopped learning or challenging myself, and that is my greatest fear, I don’t ever want to stop learning. Ever.


  1. You're not alone in hitting that personal wall.

  2. Love the article. I have reread it a bunch of times.
    Your statement, "often times [fear] causes us to say nothing at all." wow, gulp. that is so true.

    And here's a quote back to you...."go where your fear is...."

  3. I cannot tell you how much it helps knowing that there are others that feel the same way. I think that is part of the struggle too, we often times think we are alone. Jac, personal wall is so spot on, I love that you are able to completely understand and use the words that I am trying to find. Thanks for that.

    Hil, I cannot thank you enough for that conversation, it brought so many things to light. self reflection is an understatement.
    "go where you fear is"...very powerful indeed.

  4. Sara, You will achieve all that you want, I know it! Put your heart and soul into it. I know you will prevail! :) Hope to see you soon! :)

  5. Thank you Katie! Now is the time for sure! Hope to see you soon as well!


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