What do I have to give, and what do I want to give?

photo by  Simone Marchetti

In conversation with friends last night I posed the question, How do I get more Instagram followers? My friends set about grilling me about my brand* and guiding me towards online workshops about how to get more followers**. Their responses made me realize that the question I have is not exactly, How do I get more Instagram followers, but actually, What the heck am I doing out here anyway? By “out here anyway” I mean as out here (on Instagram, in the world) as an artist. It can be very lonely to be an artist, especially in a (still) new city, and when I’m without projects I spend a lot of time wandering around having no idea what I’m doing with myself. I feel terrible about that, like a REAL artist is so immersed in their pursuit of beauty/truth/whatever all the time that they would chase this inspiration to the end of the earth without periods of creative quietude. This, for better and worse, is not how I experience creativity. I find that creativity is like keys dropped in a muddy pond- the more I dig around trying to “get” it, the more dirt from the bottom gets rustled up and obstructs my view. So I wait, and walk, and try to keep my body agile and available for the next moment of quiet clarity.

When I re-framed my question to my friends as having less to do with numbers and more to do with purpose, my friends started asking me the deeper questions. The one that particularly resonated was, What do I have to give, and what do I want to give?

The answer?

I don’t know.

But I do see something at the bottom of the pond. I see that what I have, and want, to give:

  • has to do with co-creating spaces of embodiment and freedom

  • has to do with making our bodies safer places to inhabit

  • has to do with feminism

  • has to do with accepting, and giving permission to, our bodies to look, feel, and move in any way

  • has to do with joy

and on some level, it has to connect me with other people. I think this is where my question about Instagram followers came from- my desire to be more connected to people through what I love, and a hope that I can really achieve that.

I expect this will not be the last post documenting my thoughts about what I have, and want, to give. I expect, too, that this will be an exciting journey full of wrong turns, scary shadows, and countless opportunities for humiliating myself in public. But this is just par for the course. What matters more is that I trust that the journey will give me what I need every step of the way, and don't lose hope. And also that I have at least 900 Instagram followers before the end of the year.

*all over the place

**apparently it’s all about algorithms, whatever that means