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Creating Despite...Myself.

All of this year, I've had 3 goals that I've been struggling with and they're called podcast, blog and YouTube channel. I've been negotiating with imposter voices in my head and I do a little so I can tell myself, Seeeeee?? You can do this! For example, if you're someone who's been a supporter on Patreon then you've seen some of the patron-only videos I've done since last year. That was my way of dipping my toe in the water. In my mind, it was a way of easing into vlogging publicly on YouTube but I've been standing on this diving board for a while. Practice and being in the game are two different things.

Photo Credit: Robert Cooper

I should start with why I even want these things in the first place. I'll start with YouTube in this post and blog about my podcast and blogging another time. I think I've wanted to maintain a YouTube channel for a long, long time and if you check it out, you'll see some of the videos I've posted every once in a blue moon over the years. Part of me wishes, I had documented a little more of my journey in my 30s. It was a golden time of me growing into the artist I am now. This year, I turned 40 and since last year, I started to think about new beginnings and what that means for me at this point in my creative life and career. Especially as a visual artist. Especially entering a new decade of my life. Especially from travelling less for poetry since the start of the pandemic. Especially with all those 'practice' videos available only to a little more than 20 people. Shout out to everyone on my Patreon for the support! A little affirmation can go a long way. And I'll still be posting patron-only videos but I also want to reach a larger audience, tell my story a different way and share whether I travelled or not.

The second reason that made this make sense is that this year, I've rented an office space to use as my studio space. It's the first time, outside of my six-month artist residency last year, that I've had a separate space outside of my apartment to work. Seeing the possibilities of my visual art when I had a bigger and separate space gave me such resolve to find and move into a studio space after my residency. I mean who would want to go back to painting in a tiny home office and storing work in their dining room? The newness of it all also made me want to record more podcast episodes, add videos to my YouTube channel, blog about my journey...a sort of studio diaries?

But here's what imposter syndrome said...who is going to read your blog, listen to your podcast or watch your YouTube channel?? So I started searching for poet vlogs. They were very hard to come by. There are loads of poets performing on YouTube but a day in the life or other content? Nope. Not really. I started searching for artists who vlog and have a Patreon. Then I started scouring YouTube for artists who looked like me and let me tell you, representation was few and far between. Every time I find a black femme painter on YouTube, I do a little dance in my heart. Most of the artists I found on YouTube are also 10-20 years younger than me. On the one hand, all of this made me question if I even belong on YouTube. Is it too late? Am I too old now? [That sounds ridiculous as I type it but I'm going to keep it there because that's what I'm talking about: the ridiculous things the brain will say about me that I have to redirect.] But what even does a poet/painter/educator/performer/creative lifestyle vlog by a 40-year old Black woman even look like? Me! I feel like not finding the specific videos I am often looking for is exactly why this is important. It's taken all year for that voice to shout over the imposter voice.

I am very much still a poet and artist but what I've learned from the last few years is that so much is different now and I can't wait for gigs to show up in my email. That model for an income is great when it's consistent but when that changes, it's just not sustainable. In the last few years, I have felt an urgency to expand my reach so I leaned more into working with clients, launching my own virtual workshops and courses, building my Patreon page, submitting work and reimagining how I take up space online. It's a scary endeavor for me. Do it scared, I say to myself, and be consistent. This time next year, I'll be reading this and thanking myself for having tried, for braving the fear, for pushing through the procrastination I've had fueled by self-doubt. Instead of dipping my toe in this newish water, I'm deciding to learn how to swim in it. I'm taking my own advice: Every day is a good day to start your dream. Every day is now.


In honor of the journey, here's the first video I publicly posted this year on YouTube! Here's to what's next!


D. Colin || Be inspired. Then inspire.

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