At times, I find myself bored. As a teenager in the first world, this is hardly a rare occurrence. Sometimes, in order to escape the overwhelming discomfort of a lack of excitement in my life, I suddenly spew out a phrase or idea about me that makes little to no sense, as it doesn’t apply to me in any way shape or form. However, I then attempt to explain it in such a way that the entire phrase is a metaphor that describes my life. Frequently, I find this exercise exploring a much deeper and more philosophical topic than I could even begin to understand, let alone explain.
For example, today I casually brought up the phrase “I am just an artist struggling to feed a family” in conversation. I’m not sure why and I am 100% sure it was irrelevant to the conversation, but what happened happened. I was bored of course. So this phrase, “I am just an artist struggling to feed a family” doesn’t describe me at all. I live a privileged life in the suburbs of Atlanta and have no involvement in the nourishment of my family members. So, where can I begin to apply this to my life? First of all, there is the word “family.” In this context, I am not talking about my real family. This is not my brother and parents and uncles, cousins, grandparents and aunts. No – this is the family of my identity. It may not be a family in the traditional sense. One definition of family is “group of objects united by a significant shared characteristic.” My thoughts are the members, united by my mind to form the family.
Next, there is the struggle to feed. My family clearly doesn’t need food as we know it to function. Sustenance of another form fuels the family. This family requires a constant influx of ideas to continue growing and continue existing. These ideas are about the family itself, like what society thinks of the family, like what could be the purpose of life, like all of the answers to the big questions there are in the world. But these big questions are big for a reason. Not only do they have an overwhelming significance, they are immensely difficult to answer. Therefore, finding these answers is a struggle. Feeding the family is a struggle.
Finally, we have the artist. I am an artist. Do I paint, sculpt, compose or draw? No, unfortunately, I do not. Then what is my art? The art of living. I’m not unique in this art. Every single person on this planet performs this art on a daily basis. This art is unique to each person, defined by every idea, action or interaction. Every man, woman and child is an artist. There’s a quote that roughly states that art is a language that can never be understood and that applies. We all live our own way, slightly different but slightly the same, but can we even explain or try to understand how or why. It’s an art form that just is.
Overall, we find ourselves looking at a new meaning from the phrase, “I am just an artist struggling to feed a family.” It goes from a specific statement that would probably come from a very small group of people to being a representation that could show something about each and every one of us.