I have often times struggled as an artist with finding meaning in the work I do. I remember in Art school having mini breakdowns because I felt the act of creating was something quite ego driven and selfish. I spent countless hours creating drawings and paintings that were autobiographical in nature and intended only for myself. The altruistic side of me wanted to run away again to some foreign place and make a life strictly from volunteerism and at the service of others. But how would I afford this? How would I survive on good intentions? An important lesson I learned when I was in Ghana is that although you can’t always change the world, you can influence, inspire and touch peoples lives on a daily basis in very small ways.
Recently I re-learned this lesson; A close friend of mine who is a silversmith told me when I first started FoldIT Creations that the life of an artist is truly “feast or famine.” We have weeks when we don’t seem to have time in the day to get on top of our orders and then there are times when it seems like weeks go by and we make no sales. I discovered the latter more recently. After a lull in sales this past week I was questioning my reason for starting this business. Is it really worth the 6+ hours I put into it everyday after I finish and 8 hour shift at my other jobs? Do I want my motivation to work to be dictated only by making money? Does what I do matter?
In the midst of this low point I got an email from a customer who purchased a necklace from me a while back for their daughters 16th birthday:
I immediately clicked the link to the website and spent the next 30 minutes getting to know about Alex and her struggle. I was in tears watching her videos and imagining what she had to go through. It was truly inspiring to see this amazing young girl pull through something life threatening, make a recovery and then go on to give speeches to educate and motivate others. I was very humbled by her experience and the last words in Alex’s story have become my inspiration and mantra:
Sometimes people have things going on in their lives. Sometimes people feel pain, suffering, and sorrow. And sometimes people just want to give up. But even if you are getting worse you can never give up.
I felt all of those feelings. Sometimes I felt like just giving up myself, but if I gave up I never would have become what I am today and I never would have succeeded. I learned that you can never give up. I learned that working hard pays off. And, I learned that you have to laugh a little.
Please visit her website and check out her story. Be inspired!