Dear Artist: The Secret Life of Belief

For years I would not call myself an artist. I felt like I didn't deserve this holy name. It belonged to poets, alchemists, and healers. Dancers and painters. Bakers and mothers and tiny fists clutching broken crayons.

Pretty much everyone but me.

I wrote my first poem at six years old and sewed my first little rag doll then, too. At eight I would make my little sister lie down on a sheet of fabric, draw around her body with a pencil, and sew actual clothes she happily wore. Even though I would stitch together layers of paper and write stories and draw horses and prairie girls and ball gowns; even though I did hours and hours of pirouettes and plies while listening to Tchaikovsky in my thick pink tights, and grew up knowing how to bake twenty loaves of bread from scratch, I doubted myself.

In my twenties I wore the black belt of an artist. I was the mall girl carrying fluffy makeup brushes who swished bronze and violet along brow bones and in the hollow of cheeks. And then at night I typed away on my rickety keyboard so late that my husband decided to invest in his sleep and bought me a new, sleek, quieter one.

And yet, even today, I still hesitate to call myself an artist.

I'm not a real artist, like she is, the little girl inside me says.

Dear Artist is for that little girl.

Dear Artist is for me.

Dear Artist is for you.

Why is it so terrifying to say, Hello. I am an artist. I am a real artist. Why do we look over our proverbial shoulders, dreading that someone will find out that we are not in fact real artists, only pretenders, wannabes? Surely we are not real...

…like the artists who kneel before life-size canvases dripping with oils of every impossible hue—velvet indigo, saffron, and cinnamon skin...

Or the artists with paint-stained fingertips, gesso-splattered clothes, and prolific inspiration...

Or the ones with names imprinted on books, real books you hold to your face and smell and press to your chest and underline in and carry with you on roadtrips...

This is a longing of the most tender kind.

And if there is one thing I want you to take with you today, something deep and profound and true, it is this:

You are an artist because you say you are. You are an artist in the way you see the world and show up in it, day after day, no matter how terrified you feel. Believe this. In fact, this is all about belief.

You are the only one who must believe you, yet the secret is that if you believe you, slowly, surely, like the soft blushing dawn, others will believe you, too. But your belief is the one that matters. You must believe yourself. And you must believe your art.

Dear Artist is a journey to a creative life you’ll love: meaningful, transcendent, and legacy-making.

But underneath that, it's really about belief:

  • Belief that you have something meaningful to say.

  • Belief that your voice matters. That YOU matter.

  • Belief that your art knows what to do. That you can trust your creative rhythms; that you can trust in the abundant flow of inspiration.

  • Belief that you are worthy. That you are worth the time, energy, space and support you need to create.

  • Belief that you are enough.

DEAR ARTIST is a creative course for writers, dancers, healers, dreamers, entrepreneurs, mamas, makers and more who long to make their lives a luscious work of art.

DEAR ARTIST is a revolutionary program designed to help creative women like you find your words, nourish your inner fire, and live your soul purpose through your art. Protect your energy. Free your voice. Explore your unique gifts. Find your words again. Come alive. Design your own meaningful life. Be an artist on fire: never be stuck, bored, overwhelmed, or uninspired again.

You are meant to create. You are meant to be alive, lush, thriving, fulfilled; a pillar of living beauty, wisdom, and joy.

Hillary McFarland