Recently, I was at an event I do every year at Rock City in Chattanooga called Rocktoberfest. It's a fun little Ocktoberfest celebration they throw every year. As I was drawing this one couple a lady behind me chortled "I love how authentically you enjoy what you do". Now, people have said similar things to me over the past 14 years. I can feel a bit like a game show host at times when my energy is high and I can get people swept up in that. But for some reason this felt different. It really stuck with me this time. Maybe it was that word, authentically. What a precise series of words to choose. She didn't call it a job. She didn't say I was having too much fun. It was so specific. It was so profoundly correct.
For a moment, I stopped drawing and just let it wash over me. I played it back in my mind. Being in the midst of a period of heavy soul-searching, this woman had cut to the core of me in one comment. She was right. It was my natural response to drawing live caricatures. I love it. Sure there are things about road life or retail enviroments that aren't great for me, BUT... the act of drawing and interacting with the guest. It's honest. Hightened maybe, but honest. I love riffing off funny situations. I love making people laugh and although I don't do it in my spare time as much as I used to, I love drawing people.
Dictionary.com has a wonderful definition of authentically: (in existentialist philosophy) in accordance with an emotionally appropriate, significant, purposive, and responsible mode of human life.
Look at that. Emotionally appropriate? Yeah, I'm very much in the moment and responding truthfully to the situations I'm in. Significant? Yes. The positive mood I'm able to give to people feels significant to me and I feel significant doing it. Purposive? Wow. Yes. When I'm in my element, I am overflowing with a sense of purpose. A responsible mode of human life. Whoa. That's a deeper dive isn't it? This is what I hear reading that. The life I have now falls within my ideals of not only the kind of person I want to be but how I treat and do business with others. It is ALWAYS to be human first and a businessman second. It's to treat my customer and my colleagues with the respect, consideration, and fairness I want to be treated with.
She nailed it.
I've been doing a lot of soul-searching. People later on in life than myself always talk about finding what's important to them. They talk about family and passions and experiences; what they would have done and what sources of happiness they would have sought out. I feel like I'm living that. I feel I've been living that for 14 years and even in other pursuits it's always about what's bringing joy to my life. I'm pursuing my dream the way I want to and with the people I care about. I may have known that deep in my chest but after hearing "authentically enjoy what you do" it's branded on me. It's fed a fire that felt like it's been smoldering for a couple years and I can't wait to start revealing the plans I have for the next couple years.
This site was lovingly sketched, inked, and colored by Dennis Hart. Copyright 2022.
NextJS - Styled-Components - Tailwind