I finally started watching True Blood for two reasons. Besides the rave reviews, it starred one of my favorite actresses–Anna Paquin. Yet, I couldn’t stand the first episode. Still, I tried to watch it since there are shows that I grew to love as the series goes on. After seven episodes, I had to stop watching it. It’s too dark for my taste. Does that mean the people that loved the show were wrong? No. We have different preferences. What I like to watch isn’t necessarily what you would enjoy.
For example, I enjoy watching Once Upon a Time. I literally record the show and let my parents know that I’ll watch the show during the season finale. My dad, however, always tease me everytime I watch. The same thing goes with mom and dad (I agree with my father on this one) everytime she watches those Chinese action movies and drama. Still, that’s what my mother likes.
What does that mean for us artists? It means that whatever our preferences, there is sure to be a niche where you can latch yourself in. Your work would surely find an audience, even if it’s only a handful. Just write whatever novel/screenplay you enjoy writing. Paint or sing your hearts out. Keep your eyes on your vision and work on your craft. There are those who would enjoy your work. Just because you’re an artist from a tiny archipelago doesn’t mean that people from the other side of the world won’t enjoy your work.
I know this because I enjoy a dose of Japanese drama once in a while. It lacks character development but it’s so funny I couldn’t stop laughing. It’s the same reason why I love Chuck. Some people don’t understand why but I love them. That’s fine. They probably enjoy a lot of things I’d rather not waste my time on.
What are the television shows you enjoy? Why do you enjoy them?
The day I decided to be a novelist, I bought every single book I can afford on how to write a novel. I also took as much classes as I could about it. Years later, I still haven’t finished writing a book. I had been so overwhelmed with information that I started second guessing on what I should do. That’s when I realized that I was too busy knowing things that I’m paralyzing myself from doing it.
Everytime I try to write, I tell myself that the characters need to be this and that, and that the description should be more concise. As I start typing, that’s when I realized that it’s not good and stop without even typing anything. Of course, at that stage I did not know what was wrong with me. It took me a while to figure it out. The voices of other people became too loud that I lost my own. I shut myself down and tried to put down writing novels temporarily. Though I knew how to write, I need to find my own voice. Only my journal remains my constant companion. I find it therapeutic, writing about my thoughts and feelings for the day.
As I was writing on my journal, I realized that I was not writing on my novel. I was still paralyzed from the overwhelming information I tried to cram my brain with. So, I realized that it must be the writing books that overwhelmed me. That was when it occurred to me that I had been stuffing all of these information down my throat without even absorbing them all. I also noticed how I had different perspective a few years later after listening/reading certain audio books. I understood them better as I gain the wisdom.
That was when I decided that I don’t need to know every detail. I can learn one thing and digest it. For example, if I were to read about drawing, I should only read one to two chapters and practice it until I master it. It may take a day, a week, or a month but I don’t need to know every detail of it. Once that knowledge is ingrained in me, I could read another chapter to deepen my understanding. That way, I may know little but I was not as paralyzed with the knowledge that too much research bring me.
It occurred to me that there is a time and place for doing research and a time and place to just do them. However, any type of artistic expression does not require a lot of knowledge. If anything, a lot of knowledge can be too much. It can drown out your own voice. So, choose an aspect you need, practice it, and when you want to broaden your knowledge, take another perspective. You don’t need to know everything about how to create art–you need to be an artist.
We affect more people than we realize. Every action we’re taking causes a ripple effect that have a far bigger consequences we realize. Whether it’s our jobs, our driving skills, or our hobbies we have a much bigger impact than our immediate environment.
This occurred to me last week when I was driving. I had to hit on my break because the car in front of me stopped. I almost had to slam on my break but I managed to get an adequate distance between me and the car in front of me. The car behind me did the same thing but she was not so lucky. The car behind her hit her car. As I looked in the rearview mirror, I realized something. A total stranger’s actions would cause her to pay thousands of dollars for damages, and ruin the aesthetics of her car. As I exited the freeway, I realized that I have changed that person’s life.
That had certainly been the case during my own car accident almost a decade ago. A black van hit me on the side before I spun around and hit the center divider. Now, the driver of the van got away. Still, it took me years of trauma before I could drive confidently again. It also set me to my path of spirituality.
Most of us might not be as famous as Wayne Dyer, Sonia Choquette, and Joel Osteen but believe me when I say that our actions are significant nonetheless. We touch a lot of lives we don’t even realize it. Without even knowing it, our actions touch other people’s lives which in turn would touch the people they come into contact with. Hence, we should do our best. We don’t know how much we’re affecting other people by the lives we live. Just ask the parent of an abused or neglected child.
Our actions have far reaching consequences than we even realize. Therefore, we should smile and do our best at everything. We don’t know how much we change other people’s lives just by being there. Who knows? You might be saving a life without even knowing it.
The power of love is something to not be underestimated. Sometimes it’s all we needed to endure. An artist’s love for art could be seen when he or she struggles, working two jobs at a time while working on his or her spare time to give birth to a wonderful art. While it was not unusual for artists to work for two jobs to support oneself, it was and should be uncommon for us artists to wait for the big break while doing nothing. It takes perseverance to be an artist. It’s worth the struggle, yet it always turns out well once we reach the other side of it.
It’s easier to paint or to sing when we have food in our belly. For one, we don’t get too desperate to sell our artistic talents for money. Not that it doesn’t happen when we reach our zenith of wealth. Sometimes, when you become too wealthy, money becomes your motivation. It would be nice to reach the point where our love for art sustain us. Until then, we need to work on menial job in order to sustain ourselves. An art requires the soul of the artist. Otherwise, it would be a worthless trash.
When we love, we also need to use our minds. Both in tandem, it could create something that we would never thought possible. In a relationship, it is not worth it to stay when your partner abuses you, cheats on you, or even disregards your true self. That’s the time when we use our minds and leave. So it is with art. As an artist, we need to use both our minds and our hearts. While I do not suggest that you abandon what makes you happy–art, unlike humans, do not physically interact with us and could therefore not harm us–it is necessary for us to do what it takes to survive. Survival comes first. It’s true determination that keeps us working on our artistic creations when we wake up early or sleep late to squeeze in that extra time to do our sketches, write our songs, and even paint that canvas.
Mind has its place in our work. That’s why most jobs require that we use it. However, doing something we love while working on jobs that would help us survive is not either/or. It’s both. It’s essential to do the tasks in front of us while exploring what we truly love to do on the side. Maybe you truly want to be an artist but it could also be a desperate cry of the soul to be let out. The good thing when working for something while figuring out what you like is that it gives you a chance to explore. What type of paints and colors do you prefer using? What type of sound do you create? Having a job means having that money to afford that easel without having to ask for a loan.
We need to combine the passionate power of love with the logical power of the mind. We have both in our body and we could never survive without the other. That’s why it’s essential. We need to explore and experiment as artists but we also need to use our brains in order to survive. Blessed be.
Sometimes, we have to do things in order to survive. That includes taking a job we don’t particularly like. It could also include receiving the generosity from others. Or it could be a little bit of both. However, we should never lose our vision about the future. We are to define what we want. It is our call to the universe. Finally, we are to act on them until they finally come true.
When we are living a life where we’re dissatisfied, it often means that there’s something better for us out there. We just can’t see it. Rather than hating our lives, we need to figure out what we want. Otherwise, we would experience more of the things we don’t like (Law of attraction 101–you attract more of what you are experiencing). Instead of lamenting over things that we don’t want, we need to focus on the things we want.
What are the opposite of things you don’t want in life?
A thought came to me when I was praying. It said that love casts out fears. For one, I have no idea what it means. Since it seems spiritual enough, I take it to heart. I’ve been racking my brain about the message so I’m literally meditating about love. Here’s my poem about it. Hope you enjoy.
It always endures
Love is powerful
Crosses endless bounds
Casts out all fears
Yet always remains
Just as fear destroys
It always creates
It is power.
Because it is God
Spirit as it is called
Love is always there
When all seems lost.
That is love.
You can do anything you wanted. All it takes is determination and practice. I had an interesting week last week. I learned how to use an electric typewriter. Of course, I already knew how to type. Using the typewriter, on the other hand, takes skill. For one thing, if you make a mistake, there is no backspace to save you. You have to use the whiteout to remove it. That’s a messy business on its own.
How did it happen? Our computer programs are printing lined W-2’s. Now, the black lines are okay to give to everyone else but it’s not okay to send to social security. In addition, it would take two weeks before the social security gets the permission from the company we’re working with to allow us to electronically file. I had tried literal copying and paste before photocopying it again.
The results are horrible. It literally looked like the paper version of Frankenstein. I didn’t like it and neither did the higher up. In other words, we had no other option but to use the typewriter. That’s right. I had to use an equipment that belonged to a history museum because it’s the only thing qualified for the job.
My typewriter skills was horrible so my boss did it the first day. She wouldn’t trust me with it after the Typewriter Debacle I. She asked me to type using the typewriter the year before. The results were so horrible that she refused to let me type on important documents. I had learned my lesson. Still, I was determined to learn. So, I practiced when my boss was busy with her clients.
I studied the movement of the paper. I learned that the typewriter types lower than what I was seeing. I made some adjustments after that. So, I adjusted the paper. I typed words until I learned how to make the ribbon hit the paper the way I wanted. Finally, I learned how to get the typewriter to behave the way I wanted. So, I started the actual typing practice.
Everything was going so well until the typewriter wouldn’t move anymore. I tried to press certain keys but it wouldn’t work. Finally, I realized the problem. I ran out of space to type. When I figured it out, I removed the paper and set the paper closer to the left. It worked. I was able to type more words in. My boss tried to teach me how to do it without removing the paper from the typewriter by pressing certain keys. I thanked her but told her that’s a lesson for another day. Then, it was time. I could type on actual documents now.
At first, my attempts were so shaky I had to waste a couple of the red lined papers. That was when I realized that there was a whiteout next to me. So, I blotted away the errors. Still, it was uneven but passable. Then, it was the matter of speed. You see, I couldn’t type too fast. Otherwise, the numbers would turn into special characters or the letters would be small caps. I had to take my time. For someone who could type at least a hundred words per minute, it was like riding a horse carriage from your house to downtown. Unreasonably slow. Still, I managed.
I took each letter like a mantra. That was all I did that day. Finally, I was able to finish the reports. All my boss needed was a signature. I still have a lot to learn in terms of using the typewriter. Still, I know how to use it. I learned how to make it do what I wanted. I acquired a new skill.
You can learn anything you want to learn. Whether it is playing the piano, crocheting, painting, etc. you can learn anything you want to learn. All it takes is practice, patience, and the desire to learn.
What skills have you learned recently?
I was eight years old when I understood the power of practice. I had no idea how to do hula hoop when I was younger but I decided to join a hula hoop game for our intramurals. Of course, I managed to make it stay on my waist once before it fell. That same month we went to the mall, two hours away from where I lived and saw a hula hoop. I asked my grandma to buy it and I played with it just because I think it’s fun. At first I was bad at it. But I kept practicing day by day. A few months later, I became adept at it. That I even went neck-and-neck to the head of my class. Now, I’m still good at it. I don’t measure the number of rotations it stays on my waist. I measure minutes–sometimes hours.
That is how we acquire any skill we want to acquire. Whether it’s with singing, dancing, or taking care of plants, we become good at it when we practice. At the beginning, of course we’re bad at it. We have yet to acquire the skill necessary for it. Of course, we might have to make our family and neighbors suffer along the way–I’m talking about singing every night here with open windows, painful toes, and dead plants–but we’ll learn. We’ll become good at it the more we practice.
Of course, we’ll never learn if we don’t try. Sometimes, we let our performance stop us. Our pride gets in the way and we never acquire the skills we want to acquire. Take singing for example. I believe that anyone who wants to sing can. One just needs determination and patience to learn. Yet people just tell themselves that they’re not good at it. How can you if you don’t even try? All it takes is the familiarity with pitches, modulation, and proper breathing (some professional singers don’t even know the latter) and you can sing your way through anything. Most people are embarrassed to even take the first step–practice. If they don’t, how are they going to ask someone that know to teach them?
You can learn anything you want to learn if you practice. The only difference between a professional and you is the amount of time they spend practicing certain “talents”. What is up to you is to discern which skill you want to acquire and which ones you don’t. Otherwise, practice away and learn the skills you want to acquire. Do you like to learn how to shoot a basketball? What about riding the bike? It’s all up to you.
What do you want to learn how to do?
Being stressed can cause us to be burnout–something that would cause us to feel angry and helpless at our situations. Know that we are not helpless and whatever situations we are in is perfect when we look back. Therefore, here is my best way to get rid of the stress so that we can enjoy whatever situation we are in:
Whatever situation you are in is perfect. Even if it’s not, you have something invaluable to learn while you’re in it. Take it for what it is–a learning experience. Do not let your stress stop you from doing your best at your present.
What do you do to get rid of stress?