Sometimes I don't realize that I am waiting for permission until later.
Thinking back to last summer, though, I realize I needed Feminist Business School to tell me that it's legit to be an artist that works with businesses.
At times I have needed grants to give me permission to make art.
Once upon a time I needed the Walker Art Center to tell me that I can call myself a curator.
Recently I realized that I needed Extreme Life Circumstances to give me permission to take my business seriously, when I could have prioritized it all along.
I am saying hello on this August Wednesday to tell you with all sincerity that if you need a permission slip, drop me an email.
I will tell you to do the thing— now, before you are ready; while you still feel uncertain and fraud-y.
Something I see over and over with colleagues and clients is that they dip their foot into the pond of whatever they want to do, realize that it's uncomfortable/hard/lonely/uncertain, and then quickly find something else to do that's sort of related but feels safer.
I get it, 100%, as someone who does this all the time.
Here's the thing, though: the longing to do the thing probably isn't going to go away.
If you want to take up space with your creative work, you're going to have to give yourself permission. No one else is going to. You'll look around for people who want the exact same thing, but sometimes this is hard to find.
Only you want what you want. (Hooray for that.)
Here's the thing, though: if you look hard enough, there are examples of weirdos all around. People who did uncomfortable things and made their own rules. I've made my own list of weirdos I admire, and when I feel like a total outsider, I look at my list.
This summer I realized that I'm very tired of waiting for other people's permission. I turn 36 this month! Life is short, and I mean that optimistically; the sense of urgency is a gift. This year I am determined to be the source of my own permission-giving as much as possible. Will you hold me to that?
But, this pep talk is for you if you're in need of an extra push.
Consider this permission to:
Be the hero of your own journey.
Invest money in yourself.
Find new friends.
Take a day off.
Get extra childcare.
Sell your house.
Make the thing that doesn't make sense.
Stop making the thing that doesn't make sense.
Ask for help.
Call a therapist.
Eat something nutritious.
Eat something crappy.
Sing karaoke on a Tuesday night. (What I did last night.)