To the creators
I always feel odd when I refer to myself as an artist. Has anyone figured out a way to do that without pretension? Now to be clear, I do it anyway. Because when in doubt there is one thing I for sure have in common with that class of dreamers: I look back at my early work and shudder.
Sure some pieces elicit a deep sympathy inside of me, not unlike the stumbling, uncertain attempts of a young babe taking their first steps. I place my hand over my heart and coo, "How precious!" But, no, for the most part I am aghast at what I once thought was good enough to upload. What was once the best my skills, talent and ingenuity could muster.
I don't know if everyone on YouTube secretly thinks themselves an auteur. But I know everyone had to create their first video, painstakingly edit the frames, select their custom thumbnail, hover
over the "publish" button and finally push it. Knowing it wasn't their best. Knowing it didn't capture the entirety of their vision. Knowing their message wouldn't be heard as they intended.
But publishing anyway. Because they knew every time they pressed that button, they would be closer to perfection than the time before.
I often think about some wisdom a close girlfriend imparted when I first started. As I lamented the struggle of knowing what was good but not yet having the skills to realize it, she reminded me why I should take heart. This despair meant I was discerning enough to have taste, a trait we are not all blessed with. And my high standards meant I would never be complacent with mediocrity, even if it is often much easier than truth.
So here's to all the artists out there, the ones who say it proudly and the ones who add a question mark at the end. The ones who know they have taste even though it sounds gross to say that unironically. The ones who draft. The ones who publish. The ones who know that no matter how much of themselves they pour into their art, they will look back and cringe. And finally, to the ones that know with even more conviction that one day, they won't.
Here's to you and here's to us. They don't call it the beautiful struggle for nothing. And y'all, we make this struggle look good.