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The Cracks We Dance Through

Updated: Apr 15

The Cracks We Dance Through: Resilience in the Face of Exhaustion and Pain

Whatever you're meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.” 

– Doris Lessing


Pattie here, from your corner booth at Artistic Clarity HQ. Today, we raise a glass not to the polished victories, the grand premieres, or the gallery openings bathed in champagne light. Today, we clink our metaphorical teacups to the quiet battles, the unseen struggles, and the cracks in the pavement where our most exquisite art blooms.


Because let's face it, artists, the creative life is rarely a swan gliding across a moonlit lake. It's more like a tap-dancing flamenco dancer on a tightrope, heart pounding, sequins catching the light, battling a migraine and a sprained ankle. (Though, come to think of it, that sounds like a fabulous performance.)


Physical and mental exhaustion is a persistent companion for many of us. Chronic pain, a cruel shadow ever at our heels. They whisper doubts, dim our flames, and threaten to pull us into the quicksand of despair. But here's the thing: we are not defined by our struggles. We are the artists who dance through the cracks, find strength in our resilience, and transform our pain into art that resonates with raw honesty.


So, how do we navigate these turbulent waters? Here are a few thoughts gathered over steaming mugs of tea and late-night rehearsal sessions:


Embrace the power of "No." You are not a machine, and pushing past your limits leads only to burnout. Guard your energy fiercely, artists. Saying no to commitments that don't nourish your soul is not selfish; it's self-preservation.

Find your community and lean on them. Surround yourself with fellow artists who understand the ebb and flow of the creative process, who celebrate your victories and hold your hand through the inevitable setbacks. A shared struggle is a burden halved, and a shared triumph is a joy multiplied.

Reframe your pain. It's not a weakness; it's part of your unique story. Use it as fuel for your art, channeling its rawness into something powerful and evocative. Remember, Frida Kahlo's most iconic works were from her physical suffering.


Celebrate the small victories. Every brushstroke, every note played, every word written is a defiance against the forces that seek to silence you. Acknowledge your progress, no matter how small, and find joy in the act of creation itself.

Be kind to yourself. This is not a competition, and you only need to impress yourself. Forgive yourself for the days you can't, for the stumbles and missteps. Self-compassion is the wellspring from which creativity flows.


And lastly, artists, never give up. The world needs your art, your voice, and your unique perspective. So keep dancing, even when your feet ache. Keep singing, even when your voice is hoarse. Keep creating, even when the world seems intent on dimming your light. Remember, the cracks in the pavement are where the wildflowers grow.

My personal experience:

Picture this: me, post-surgery, a technicolor tapestry of tubes and exhaustion at home for two months. My usual joie de vivre had dimmed to the flicker of a candle in a hurricane. Movement? Forget it. Sleep? A distant memory. Yet, amidst the physical chaos, a spark remained. My latest play, a beast with a labyrinthine structure, gnawed at my creative core. But how did I tame it when my bed had become my kingdom, and the only excursions involved the (admittedly luxurious) confines of a foot soak tub?


Enter the index cards, a fluttering flock of 50, each holding a plastered to wall piece of painter's tape, helter-skelter scene across my bedroom wall. Once structured by rehearsals and deadlines, my days now revolved around stolen moments at the edge of that makeshift canvas. Pain gnawed, exhaustion threatened, but each glance at those cards, each mental shift of scenes, fueled a fire within.


It wasn't glamorous, this foot-tub theatre. But in that cocoon of discomfort, something blossomed. Slowly, scene by scene, the play coalesced. The limitations, ironically, became my muse. Forced stillness birthed a new focus, a deeper understanding of the characters' struggles. And when I finally emerged, blinking, from my convalescence, I held not just a recovered body but a finished script, a testament to the resilience of the creative spirit.


So, artists, when life throws you a curveball-wrench in your perfectly orchestrated plans, don't despair. Embrace the chaos. Find your foot-tub, index cards, and unique canvas or wall of inspiration. Remember, limitations can breed brilliance. The most unexpected corners often hold the seeds of our most remarkable creations. And who knows, you might surprise yourself with a full-length masterpiece or at least a sonnet scribbled on a napkin.


Right now, I have a date with a bubble bath and a blank page. Who knows what art awaits?


Yours in creative rebellion,



P.S. Now, go forth and create something beautiful and defiant that speaks to the cracks we all dance through. And remember to share it with us because, at Artistic Clarity HQ, we celebrate the art that rises from the ashes.

Thanks for reading! These blog posts are free of charge. However, they do take time, energy, and a lifetime of artistic experience to put together. If you’d like to buy me a cup of tea as a bit of thanks, I’d appreciate your generosity. Buy Pattie a Cup of Tea.

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Feb 22

Thank you for this, especially the reminder to be kind to myself through whatever struggles I’m dealing with.


James Jackson
James Jackson
Feb 19

Pattie, then in your case, tonight will be a rising of artistic SPLASHES ! ;^)

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