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Keep Making Dope Shit, Please.

Jessie Ma2 Comments

Before we get started, I have 2 questions for you.

Yeah, you.

Ready?

1. How do you hurt? 

And

2. How do you heal?


I always felt alone.

Not even in a depressing way – but for as long as I can remember, I saw myself as being fundamentally separated from the people and world around me.

I didn't like nor dislike it; it was simply the way things were.

When I was 14, I started writing. I'd always kept a journal for random thoughts and doodles, but that was the year that I mindfully, intentionally, desperately wrote. Everything I experienced, my perception of reality, my narrative of the truth – I had to get it out. 

Not to publish, not to share, not for any reason other than to release the things inside of me. 

It's been 12 years and I haven't stopped. 


Over the years, I realized that it's (ironically) not just me.

Everyone feels alone. 

And what looks like pen & paper to me

takes on different forms for others –

canvas & paint

music & a dance floor

a lover & a bed

a piano & hands

These are our weapons against the illusion of loneliness. 

These are our portals of release.


Art is My release.

All the things inside me that are so real and strong and heavy – joy, pain, love, loss, all the fucked up and crazy..

They'd otherwise remain trapped.

Intangible, nebulous, begging to be let out. 

Without release, I start to crumble under the weight. My insides threaten to implode from the pressure.

So I find a sanctuary in the alchemy of feelings into words.


And what happens to Art once released? 

When it's out there for the world to see –

naked, vulnerable, subject to judgment and ridicule?

Well, if it's honest art, 

The fucked-up crazy parts of other people

will look at the fucked-up crazy parts of you

and go,

"Hey, me too."

Art Is my Reconnection.

Art doesn't even have to work so hard to connect people – it doesn't need to actively push our minds closer to agree on something. 

Actually,

it's in the subtle, effortless realization that we are not so disconnected that we are able to connect.

Loneliness is an illusion, after all. We just need reminders sometimes. 


I first found this catharsis in reading.  

Authors who wrote from a place of honesty – whether it was about excruciating sadness, overwhelming happiness, paralyzing anxiety, falling in and out of love – 

Hearing them speak my truths back to me was the most powerful thing I'd ever experienced.

I realized that we all share the same fucked-up and crazy. And we also share the same beautiful and amazing. The rest is trivial – we are so much more similar than our outer layers deceive us to be.  

It manifests as different stories, of course, 

but at the core, we all come from the same sacred space.

Art is how you invite others in to your sacred space.

Creating and sharing something real to you is intimacy that needs no physical contact. It's how we make love without sex.

Craving that connection, I wear my heart on my sleeve and my soul on my fingertips. I place my hand on my keyboard and take a deep breath. I let go, and feel you feel me. 


How To Make Dope Shit 101

To me, the only bad art is dishonest art.

So you – yes, you – whom I want to see dope shit from,

Don't be so scared of what people think.

In fact, the truer you are to yourself, the more strongly your Art will resonate with others. 

The more you pollute it with what you think people want, the more contrived and mediocre and nauseatingly unoriginal your Art will be. Said it. 

So keep baring your soul. Because as terrifying as it is, creating honest work is the only way you'll ever feel even remotely satisfied.

It's the only way that anyone else will ever get it.

"Do whatever brings you to life. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart."
– Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

It doesn't matter if the subject of your Art is ugly. Even if you're dancing about sadness, even if you're singing about loss, even if you're writing to keep your heart from shattering –

As long as you're making from the soul, your Art will be beautiful. 

Cuz as fucked up as they come,

I've never seen a soul that was ugly. 


Art is my Rebuilding

Even out of the tragic, the horrific, the devastating ruins of whatever I experience, creating art always, always rebuilds. 

In the very act of transforming my thoughts and feelings into Art, I've validated them, legitimized them, and given them opportunity to take on a new meaning.

For me, making shit kills my ego. It challenges me to define what I really feel and who I really am. 

Art makes me, me. 

Art has the power to build you,

and you have the power to build the world

= Art has the power to build the world. 

K, so Art can't cure cancer or invent a better iPhone. 

But don't ever let anyone tell you that Art doesn't matter. 

It's a universal antidote for mental and emotional turmoil.

It's also a powerful cultural statement – as evident throughout history, regardless of geography.

It's a voice for socio/economic/political issues. A tool for spreading awareness, a catalyst for change.

And most importantly,

It preserves the child-like wonder that is often extinguished by a world that shows too little mercy.

Art keeps us human.

“By investing in the arts, we can chart a course for the future in which the threads of our common humanity are bound together with creative empathy and openness."
– President Barack Obama

But let's be real: 

You're going to fuck up. You'll feel embarrassed and vulnerable and paranoid. 

You will make a lot of shitty shit. Until you make some dope shit. 

But keep making.

Keep learning and practicing and growing. 

I did, do, and will continue to,

because 

I fucking love Art.

It is my access to flow, my glorious release, the heaven of my religion, the language of my soul.

Nothing is more important than love, and there's no better way to show it than through Art.

So use it.

Discover yourself through it and use those gifts to better the world around you.

Make, make, make, and show us so we can cry and celebrate with you. 

"Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done."
– Austin Kleon, Steal Like An Artist

Basically,

Keep Making Dope Shit.
For yourself, and for the rest of the world.

Please.