Sometimes, I just need to hear that I can. That what I have is useful to the real world, that it’s worth paying for, that it isn’t just extra, but that it’s necessary. I need to be reminded that what I do is essential, essential enough to sustain a life with, to sustain a family with, if I work hard enough.
I don’t find myself believing that much.
I feel like my skill set is full of extras, things that are “nice” to have, but aren’t important. I know I’m dope. I know I write well. I know that my poems are powerful and that they stir people, I just don’t feel like anyone would call poetry “crucial” or “vital” to their lives. That they would deem it enough so to pay what it’s worth to them. This is the fault of the artist as well as the consumer.
I give my work away… I ask nothing for all the hours I know that I pour into it, and so no one sees the worth of those hours, they see a handful of words, not a careful construction of beautiful, true, inspirational, empowering, life-enriching words images and messages with the power to change their lives, break paradigms, bring clarity, introduce perspective, or facilitate healing. That’s my fault. I enjoy giving it away, but I need to begin seeing the worth of my work, and helping others to do the same for mine AND their own.
I still want to be generous and give lots of it away, but giving is only generous when what you’re giving has an established value. To be generous with my work, I need to establish a value. I have to believe in its value. I have to believe in MY value.