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  • Writer's pictureLeonie Jonk

What kind of artist are you?

We all have a version of ourselves that we think we are and a version of ourselves that we would like to be. Neither are usually exactly right.

Sometimes I romanticize that other version, I think we all probably do. There are experiences that we feel would be just perfect for us. We dream about it and think it’ll finally unlock this other new version of ourselves. The glow up. The new and improved. Learning that something isn’t a perfect fit can shake our image of ourselves. Both the one we idealize and the one identify with.

It was like that for me when I went to Bali.

I’d dreamed of going there for so many years. Before my burnout. Before I choose to became an artist. I was going to see so many things. I was going to post travel blogs. I imagined it would fill me with creative inspiration and every single day I would sit and paint all the wonderful sights. Just like the fine artists I followed on social media I would fill a whole sketchbook in a week! I wouldn’t be able to contain myself. I would simple need to create!

Turns out, that’s not the kind of artist I am.

It didn’t feel good realizing that.

A strange kind of imposter syndrome took hold of me.

What kind of artist goes on vacation and doesn’t spend every day being creative?

A tired one, that’s who!

The first few days all I wanted to do was spend time with my partner. Taking in all the sights and smells and sounds. Let my mind wander without having it land on anything in particular. To enjoy the warmth and friendliness of people around me, learn about their culture and country and more than anything I just wanted to exist for a bit.

I did start picking up my tools after a few days and after having let go of the shame of not being ‘that kind of artist’. And since coming back from vacation I’ve caught myself with my sketchbook in hand more than I had in the months before I left.

So for every artist who feels guilty for not being creative this day, week, month, year.

You’re allowed to take time off from creating. And it doesn’t make you a fraud. You are allowed to fill your cup so you’ll have something to draw from when the time is right.

We ended up going home early, learning once again that if I go to countries where food poisoning is likely, I am equally likely to wind up in the hospital overnight. Oops! (Don’t worry, I’ve recovered just fine since ;)). And while I was certainly disappointed to discover I’m not the travel artist girly I hoped I was, I still feel so fortunate that we got to see & experience what we did!

After returning home I felt so deeply grateful for the home we’ve built. Even if there’s still so much to do, we’re building a place that supports us. That helps us tap into each of our creative needs when we are ready and what more can an artist really want?

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