Heaven's Ashes: A blog about being an artist and honest with oneself.
To add to the pleasure of reading, I've included a series of BTS photos of Artist, Christina Acevedo from our most recent Masculine de La FEMME project. Photos + Art Direction, by Yours Truly.
Perhaps my first honest and candid blog post in years. What's an artist without being genuinely honest with oneself? What's an artist without fear of being too exposed and vulnerable to another person's criticism? To be an artist takes a life-long commitment to endure the many painful paths that lead us to self-inflicted restrictions called, insecurities. Insecurity is the belief that we have no faith in our own self or talent. That we hold no power to self and are subjecting our self-value to be measured by another person's/group's perspective of who we are. Insecurity is the existence that sleeps under the same covers of defeat, and we live, eat, and breathe with it. We bring it into our conversations with loved ones and mask it with polite, meaningless descriptions of our feelings such as "fine" and "I'm great".
Having been an artist who has lived with the long-suffering of paralyzing, self-sabotaging thoughts, has brought me to this page. Honesty. Being honest with myself. Being honest with others. Peeling off the mask that has helped me navigate through many nights out shared with a crowd of strangers. The mask I peel off is the mask I set down next to my bedside right before I go to sleep and do it all over again, 5 - 8 hours later. That mask is how I check in with myself at night "Have you been real with yourself today? Have you been honest with yourself today?"
13 years ago, I left home with a heavy heart of sadness and confusion and ran away to Los Angeles without a goal or ambition. I refused to look back. I did the right thing. Leaving home was the best decision and first step to freedom and independence. Separating myself as a by-product of where I came from was a challenge for me. I grew up in a religious and spiritual upbringing but given very little answers to the millions of questions I had for our reason to exist. I was conflicted with sexuality, genderism, spirituality, sexism, education, history, and religious laws that have governed and ruled over my spiritual practice all those years as a child. I realized later, that the only one thing that remained constant for me is, LOVE. Love became Art, and Art became the vessel that sent me off on a journey to self-discovery. That journey led me to the heart of God through people and places. If I just apply Love in everything that I do, say, feel, touch, I will find the answers that hold the key to the souls of our existence. The soul of my existence is to help others find inspiration, oneness, and peace with themselves. The journey doesn't have to be hard, but it can be if we make it that way. We can help others, by truly staying honest with oneself and to not compromise the moral compass that guides the light that glows inside of us. Why help others? Because it makes us happy. It fills in the hole that not even our own self-obsessed and indulgent confidence made up by "likes" and "follows" could fill.
I believe there is a fair price to pay in order to find happiness. The price is to acknowledge sadness. To embrace the nature of its heaviness and to allow it to wash over us like sinking ships. The beauty about sadness is that it has a sibling, it's called, Happiness.
One cannot co-exist without the other. So we must take each hand and care for them as though they are our own children. What do mothers do when they cannot play favoritism among the two children? I am not a mother, so my guess, is to play with either of them fairly. That was what my mother did, with my brother and I. My brother, on the other hand, might think otherwise. :)
Choose to be content in the greatness of all things. Choose to be grateful in the struggle of all things. What we consider to be our own success, is by counting the many and thousands of blessings we encounter each day. What are those blessings? If you can get out of bed in the morning, that's blessing number one. Start there and do the math.
- Monica Reyes