Could art be a selfless gift?
by Jen Smith:
Selfish, self centered, self seeking, on page 62 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous it says that this deep rooted selfishness is my problem. When I first read further down the page where it says that my problems are of my own making I remember being pissed. “But if you met my ex you would understand that he is definitely the problem,” I was quick to dispute in early recovery.
My problems today are high quality compared to early sobriety. Despite this I can quickly digress and think my world is coming to an end, or that there is no place in this world for me. But I’m slowing learning in recovery that I do have a place and a purpose and that is to help others. This is what I have been taught. For sure this selfish alcoholic would never have come up with something like that by herself. I like how our purpose is so simply put on the top of page 77 in the Big Book. To paraphrase, our purpose is to fit ourselves to be of most use to God and to our fellows. So how do I do this? Am I doing it at all now?
There are some obvious things I do in AA like set up meetings, I’m a general service representative, I take a meeting into the jail once a month… all of this is good for me and my recovery but perhaps this action is doing more good for me than anyone else. Then there’s my writing. It was a dear friend Mimi that gave me the gift of calling my writing art. I had never thought of it as art. My definition of art was ignorantly limited to creating with colors and instruments. My conception of art has since grown to mean so much more. The median on which art is created is irrelevant, it’s about doing something different, outside of the norms, out of the box, and art can be something created for change resulting in a human connection, a new human experience.
I did not think of results or goals when I started writing. I just did it. I was fueled by passion. I have also grown to believe that art must be shared. Without the possibility of a human connection there is no art. Art does not live if it only exists is in a dark desk drawer. I had no idea that I would
create human connections with my writing but I have. I have wonderful peeps that support me, who I couldn’t happily exist without, but when I get an email or comment from someone I don’t know it blows me away. In some way my words have meant something to them and have triggered a response, a human connection. This I believe could be an important service to others.
I’m still trying to figure all of this out but sometimes I feel like I’m on the right path, in some ways a selfless path. Do I hope to make some money on my writing some day? Absolutely! Is this selfish? Absolutely! But when another human connects with my writing in someway, that is a gift and the gift I hope to continue to give. When someone can say “I felt like that too” and feel like they are no longer alone, that is the biggest selfless gift I could ever give anyone. I’ll keep working towards that.