I spend a lot of time…a lot of time wishing I could be an individual who will leave an incredible fingerprint. And that my inky fingers will always remain when I’ve passed into impermanence. And the more I think about it…the more I consider that there are numerous things I could be doing in order to achieve this.
Go to medical school. Go to medical and take medicine to those who need it most. Travel. Travel so much. But not to Paris or London or Sydney. But to the remote villages of Africa, South America…Siberia. Join the Peace Corp. Dedicate my endless time to learning other languages and helping further cultural communication. Teach. Teach language. Teach math. Teach inner-city kids from challenging socioeconomic backgrounds. Become a politician. Write new laws to protect people, to enable and advocate. Become not a politician…but a human being working in the government, for the people. Not for the government. Further engage in actions that protect the planet, to protect cities and civilizations. Counsel people. Counsel addicts, victims of domestic abuse and those who suffer with PTSD. Become a social worker. Work long hours for an amazingly endless cause, for people who need help. Fight for quality and equal public education. Redefine our countries punitive justice system. Teach, exercise compassion and advocate for those who have made poor decision in their life. Get abortion legalized. Just do that.
But then I look at my watch. Look at my wallet. Look at my limitations (of which there are considerable) I consider that these things are not simple. Not what-so-ever.
And…that I’m blessed enough to be an artist. That being an artist means I can be anything. I can be a teacher, a biologist, a sociologist, a linguist, a musician, an advocate, activist, a farm hand, a voter, a megaphone, a mirror, foundation, a spark and a human being. A global citizen. A feminist. A writer. A woman and a man. I can shape my fingerprint and leave it behind. But never expecting or preempting a given result for that print.
There’s been so much talk lately around the Institute (CalArts) about why we do what we do. I’m not sure I always agree with the answers, but I welcome the discussion. And I’m additionally curious about what we are doing. There are so many times I’ve thought to myself…”isn’t there something better I should be doing?” But then always knowing that being an artist truly is the only thing for me. And how blessed I am…because being an artist means being a great many things. Primarily for me, it means being human. And all the limitless multiplicities that accompany the human experience. Being compassionate, intelligent, daring, brave, passionate, empathetic, a bit crazy and endlessly groping. I’m not saying I’m all those things. Only that I hope through my art that I move closer to them with each day. It’s examining and communicating what it is to be human. And how beautiful is that?
So yes. So many big questions these days. Really large questions…but there is a sense of peace. A sense of quiet hope and settling in that I can feel happening within myself.