In some way or another, I make art every day. Sometimes it’s just seeing a moment and taking a quick picture while rushing on to work. Sometimes I’m all in, eyeballs deep, in creating — writing, photography, doodling. So when my husband feels his artistic side heating up, I love to watch him jump in.
He sent me templates the other day for his next project, and after some discussion, we found a place to print up the sheets. We just needed 3, and they weren’t terribly large, but they were too big for my home printer. We walked into a printing office supply store and told the young lady manning the copy station what we needed, and she said, “OK, that’s $2 each.”
My husband leaned over the counter, bouncing a little, excited that this was working out. When the prints were finished, the young lady gave us our total due.
$42 and some change. ALMOST FORTY-THREE DOLLARS!!!
“Oh, wait,” I said. “We just have the 3 copies.”
“Yeah, that’s $2 per *something.*” (I missed the per because my mind was already whirling back to 10 minutes before when she said EACH.)
In that moment of shock, all I could think about was my husband being so excited to get these. And I looked over and he was pulling cash out of his wallet, the same look of shock on his face. Shock will, apparently, lead you to pay for something you didn’t mean to pay for.
Later, my husband just wanted to run off his frustration. But as we neared the lake, I said, “You know, this is exactly what Resistance looks like. It discourages you. It tells you that it costs too much to make art. It distracts you with anger over being duped, whispering to you that your art isn’t worth a little cost. Granted, she was not honest with us in the total cost, and we missed actually asking $2 each WHAT?, but it’s done and now you have the templates you need. Don’t let this be a reason not to move forward. It stinks. It’s stupid. But it doesn’t get to win.”
As we ran, I thought about how that happens for me. The cost of making art — writing, taking pictures — isn’t really in dollars anymore because I’ve had my tools for a while, but it’s in putting it out there to be seen. The cost is the time I spend, and will anyone even read my words? Will anyone purchase my photos?
My own resistance shows up in fear of people.
Every time I make a focused effort on sharing my stories — the hard, vulnerable pieces of myself — someone from my past shows up. It’s become a “fun” game to guess who it might be. But it happens. Resistance shows up as a person, or the idea of a person.
After our run, I received a private message from someone I’ve never met asking about my mom. I’m currently in the weeds trying to pull out the good pieces of my relationship with my mom to weave through the ugly parts of my story. Great timing. My thoughts dripped with sarcasm and for one short second, “Here we go again. I should just quit trying to write this story.”
Ah. But I recognize Resistance now. I recognize that the cost of my art is in dealing with whispers of the past, of ghosts that question my loyalty as a daughter, a sister, a person. Resistance tells me that it’s not worth upsetting a few people, even though Truth reminds me that this is my story, my life, and that it can help people, starting with me.
Too often, Resistance keeps me silent again. But I’ve learned the cost of that is greater than the cost of art itself. I am reminded in wispy little moments of relief that I can’t get lost in the fear of people because they have no control over me. Nor do I have control over them. How they react, respond, or act out based on what I write is not mine to control. I can only make art and be truthful to myself.
As my husband sets out on his new project, he has expressed fear of messing up the expensive paper templates. Resistance is jabbing at him, so I will keep reminding him that this is not meant to be a perfect journey, just one that fills our soul with the beauty that is making art.
I will keep reminding myself of the same.